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This book is DUE on the last date stamped below 

JUN 1 8 1934 

Southern Branch 
of the 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

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"Rememherthedaysofold, consider the years of many generations : 
ask thy father, and he will shew thee ; thy elders, and they loill tell 
thee. — Deuteronomy xxxii. 7. 

" / have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.'" — 
Psalm Ixxvii. 5. 



2 AND 3 Bible House 



t r c t <■? 





REV. Heman Dyer, D.D. 

This History of his Ancestors 

IS affectionately inscribed 

BY his Wife 


The following pages have not been hastily written, 
but are the result of much patient, and thoughtful re- 
search. Great care has been taken that no statement 
^, should be made, without ample proof of its correctness. 
0^ Numerous books, and musty records, have been consult- 
ed, and the most persevering, and untiring efforts made, 
^ to reach the truth. If mistakes can be found, it is be- 
^^ lieved that they are but slight ones. It may be thought 
^' that some matters have been introduced, which are 
foreign to the subject; but in each instance, there has 
been a motive for doing so. There has been no at- 
tempt to trace the lineage of the various branches of 
the Dyer family. The object of the writer was to find 
the link between the noble-hearted martyr, Mary Dyre 
— her brave husband — and that branch of their 
descendants for which she has a particular regard. 
It is believed that much of interest will be found, in the 
book, to any bearing the name, and certainly all are 


justified in feeling both pride and pleasure, who can 
trace their lineage back to that remarkable band of 
Exiles, who left their native land for conscience' sake, 
came to this wilderness, and, after years of trial, toil, 
and embarrassment, most cheerfully and nobly borne, 
laid the foundation for the rich inheritance we now en- 
joy. Such an ancestry is indeed a " precious heritage." 

" Yet, remember! 'tis a crown 
That can hardly be thine own, 
Till thou win it by some deed 
That with glory fresh shall feed 
Their renown!" 

Cornelia C. Joy-Dyer. 

New Yokk, March, 1884. 



Fifteen years after the Pilgrims of the Mayflower 
had landed on Plymouth Rock, we find the first record 
of William and Mary Dyre, in Boston. A family 
tradition says that two brothers and a sister — Edward, 
George, and Tabitha Dyre — came from England to 
Boston in the Mayflower, about 1627 or 1629. With 
them, were the son of one brother and the daughter of 
the other — William and Mary. The cousins married; 
when^ it is not known. As it has been impossible to 
ascertain any other maiden name for Mary Dyre, the 
inference is that the tradition may be a correct one. 
Gerard Croese in his "History of the Quakers," 
quaintly describes her as " a person of no mean extract 
or parentage, of an estate pretty plentiful, of a comely 
stature and countenance, of a piercing knowledge in 
many things, of a wonderful sweet and pleasant dis- 
course." Governor John Winthrop, in his Journal 
dated 1638, speaks of her as " a very promp, and fair 
woman, of a very proud spirit." " Thus," says Drake 
in his " New England Legends," " we have, in her. 


the portrait of a comely woman of fine presence, high 
spirit, a fair share of education, and possessing, more- 
over, a soul endowed with the purpose of an evangelist, 
or, at need, a martyr." The Dyre family, like many 
others in that day, had left the refinements of an 
English home, and braved the discomforts of the western 
wilderness, in order to enjoy the blessings of religious 
liberty. William and Mary Dyre united with the 
church of which the Rev. Mr. Wilson, (afterwards so 
malignant in his persecution of the Quakers) was the 
pastor, and on the 20th of December, 1635, their son 
Samuel was baptized. The following March, William 
Dyre was made freeman. As this act gave him the 
elective franchise, and was not bestowed without a cer- 
tain amount of property, it is probable that he was a 
man of some means, when this privilege was conferred 
upon him. The name Dyre has, like many names in 
this country, been spelled in various ways by different 
branches of the family. We find it thus written — 
Dier, Dhier, Dyor, Dyar, Dyre and Dyer, — the last 
being the spelling by which the name is now known, 
both in England and America. William, of Boston, 
wrote his name Dyre, as his ancestors had done for 
many years, and thus it continued for several genera- 
tions in this country. In Anglo-Saxon the adjective 
dyre means " strong — bold." In the days of Chaucer, 
dyre meant " dear," and he says : 

" Farewelle, dyre herte, chef yn remembraunce, 
And ever schalle unto the oure y dy." 

It is not known how much the ancestors of William 


Dyre were governed by these considerations in spelling 
their names, but the Anglo-Saxon meaning probably 
had its influence. About the time that the Dvre 
family came among the Puritans of New England, 
Roger Williams, originally from Wales, and a graduate 
of Pembroke College, Cambridge, then a young man 
of thirty-two years of age, had made his appearance, 
and taken a decided stand against many of the views of 
the founders of Massachusetts, who came to secure 
freedom for the exercise of their own religious opinions, 
but were zealous in putting down all those who differed 
from them. He believed in religious freedom, not 
only for his own opinions, but for those of all others. 
He thought that the law ought to be used to keep 
people from crime, but that it had nothing to do with 
their religious belief. He did not approve of obliging 
people to attend church, unless they wished to do it. 
He did not think it right to choose the magistrates 
from the church members only, or to make people pay 
to support the cliurch unless they wished. There were 
many who shared these views, but had not the courage 
to avow them, knowing it might bring them into 
serious difficulties. Petitions, however, were gotten up, 
protesting against these requirements, and agents were 
sent about to get signers. They soon got into trouble, 
and one incident will show how bitter was the feeling 
against them. My ancestor, Thomas Joy, in an unwary 
moment, was persuaded to carry a petition for signa- 
tures. John Winthrop, Esq., first Governor of the 
colony of Massachusetts Bay, makes this record in his 


Journal : " There was, also, one Thomas Joy, a young 
fellow, whom they had employed to get hands for the 
petition. He began to be very busy, but was laid hold 
on and kept in irons about four or five days, and then 
he humbled himself, confessed what he knew, and 
blamed himself for meddling in matters belonging not 
to him, and blessed God for these irons upon his legs, 
hoping they would do him good., while he lived ! So he 
was let out upon reasonable bail." 

A novel way of taking iron as a tonic ! 

Roger Williams talked so boldly against the es- 
tablished laws, that the Massachusetts magistrates de- 
cided to send him back to England. He heard of this 
intention and fled, in mid winter, from his home in 
Salem, and wandered in the wilderness for fourteen 
weeks, "sorely tost in a bitter season," he says, "not 
knowing what bread or bed did mean." 

This was in January, 1636. It has been shrewdly 
said that, " when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth 
Rock they fell upon their knees, and shortly after, fell 
upon the aborigines." Roger Williams, however, 
pursued a different course. He sought the friendship 
of the Indians, and by kindness and attention, making 
them presents, and visiting them, as his letters de- 
scribe, " in their filthy, smoky holes, to gain their 
tongue," he overcame the shyness of old Canonicus, 
and won the esteem of the high-spirited Miantinomo. 
It proved well for himself, and for New England, 
that this intercourse was maintained. He crossed the 
Narragansett Bay, with five companions, in an Indian 


canoe, and the first place where he landed, he called 
Providence, thus acknowledghig his gratitude to God. 
There were no white settlers in that region ; and 
Canonicus and Miantinomo were sachems over the 
Narrasan setts, and resided on the island of Canonicut 
in the Narragansett Bay. It was from them that Mr. 
Williams obtained his first deed of the lands about 
Providence. This deed bears date March 24, 1637, 
and it mentions a sale of lands to him, and a large 
tract of country, which, " in consideration of the 
many kindnesses and services he hath continually done 
for us, we doe freely give unto him." " It was not 
price and money," says Roger Williams, " that could 
have purchased Rhode Island, but it was obtained by 
love." But he kept nothing himself ; he gave away 
his lands to those he thought most in want, and only 
desired that a shelter might be found for " persons 
distressed for conscience." Many such came in proc- 
ess of time ; for the " Antinomian controversy," as 
it was called, had caused great disturbance in Boston. 
The leaders of it, the Rev. John Wheelwright, and 
his sister-in-law, Mrs. Ann Hutchinson, promulgated 
their views so freely that they were banished from the 
colony — the former going to the head-waters of the 
Piscataqua, and the latter following Roger Williams. 

Williarti Dyre had not remained a silent spectator 
in all this controversy. He warmly espoused the 
cause of Wheelwright; and to use his own words, 
" because his hand was to the seditious writing and 
defended the sanu,^'' he was disfranchised and dis- 


armed, and finally was driven out of Massachusetts 
Colony, to the new settlement formed by Roger 
Williams. Mary Dyre had taken a prominent part in 
the Antinomian controversy, whilst her force of 
character, and vigorous understanding, no doubt, 
caused her to be regarded as a formidable opponent 
by the orthodox Puritans. When Mrs. Hutchinson 
was cast out of the church, young Mrs. Dyre walked 
out with her, in presence of the whole congregation. 
A fact recorded by Governor Winthrop. 

The brave woman, even then, was not afraid to 
" show her colors." 

Soon after reaching their new home, William 
Dyre joined seventeen others, and they bought 
the island of Rhode Island, then called Aquid- 
neck, or the " Isle of Peace," — a name which should 
have been retained, but Governor Coddington 
thought otherwise, and, from a fancied resemblance to 
the Isle of Rhodes in the Mediterranean Sea, he 
changed the name, and it soon became known as 
Rhode Island. Pocasset was the Indian name of the 
place where the first English settlement upon Aquid- 
neck was established. Ten coats, and twenty hoes, 
were given to the resident Indians to vacate the lands, 
and five fathoms of wampum were paid to the local 
sachem. Before leaving Providence, this civil com- 
pact was drawn up and signed : 

" 7th day of the 1st month (IVIarch), 1638. 

"We, whose names are underwritten, do hereby 
solemnly, in the presence of Jehovah, incorporate our- 


selves into a body politic ; and as he shall help, will 
submit our persons, lives, and estates unto our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, 
and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His, 
given us in His holy word of truth, to be guided and 
judged thereby. 

" Exodus, xxiv. 3, 4. II. Ohron. xi. 3. II. Kings, 
xi. 17." 

Its signers were William Coddington, John Clarke, 
William Hutchinson, John Coggeshall, Wm. Aspin- 
wall, Samuel Wilbore, John Porter, John San ford, 
Edward Hutchinson, Jr., Thomas Savage, William 
Dyre, William Freeborne, Philip Shearman, John 
Walker, Richard Carder, Wm. Baulstone, Edward 
Hutchinson, Sr., Henry Bull. The names of Roger 
Williams and Randall Holden appear as witnesses. 
On that day, William Dyre was chosen the first clerk 
of the colony. He was also chosen clerk when New- 
port was settled in 1639. Upon consolidation of the 
towns into "Providence Plantation in Narragansett 
Bay in New England " in 1647, he was General Re- 
corder ; in 1648, he was Clerk of Assembly ; and in 
1650, Attorney-General. These ofiicial positions show 
the high estimation in which he was evidently held. 
A year after the settlement at Pocasset, the colony had 
increased so greatly, that a division was deemed expe- 
dient. A meeting was held, at which the following 
agreement was entered into by the signers, by whom 
the settlement of Newport was commenced on the 
southwest side^of the island : 


" Pocasset on the 28th of the 2d, 1639. 

" It is agreed by us, whose hands are underwritten, 
to propagate a plantation in the midst of the island 
or elsewhere ; and doe engage ourselves to bear 
equall charges, answerable to our strength and estates 
in common ; and that our determination shall be by 
major voice of judge and elders, the judge to have a 
double voice." 

Present : 

William Coddington, Judge. 

Nicholas Gaston, John Coggeshall, Wm. Breton, 
John Clarke, Jeremy Gierke, Thomas Hazard, Henry 
Bull, Elders. 

William Dyre, Clerk. 

In " Extracts from Rhode Island Colonial Records, 
papers never before published, relating to the original 
grant of lands to the early settlers of Newport, R. I.," 
it is stated that " William Dyre having exhibited his 
bill under the Treasurer's hand unto the sessions held 
on the 10th of March, 1640, wherein appears full sat- 
isfaction to be given for seventy-five acres of land, 
lying within the precincts of such bounds, as by the 
committee, by order appointed, did bound it withal, 
viz.: To begin at the river's mouth, over against 
Coaster's Harbour, and so by the sea, to run up to a 
marked stake, at Mr. Coddington's corner, and so 
down, upon an easterly line to a marked tree over 
against the Great Swamp, and so two rods within the 
swamp, at the two deepest corners of the clear land, 
the one at the southeast corner, and the other upon a 


straight line in the northeast, marked by stakes, and so 
down to a marked tree by the river side ; the river 
being his bounds to the mouth thereof. v,^ith a home 
lot and a parcel of meadow and upland lying between 
Mr. Jeremy Clarke's meadow, and Mr. Jeoffrey's at 
the north end of the harbour, and north upon the 
highway, with ten acres allowed by the town order for 
his travelling about the island, lying within the for- 
mer bounds, which is his proportion. 

"This, therefore, doth evidence and testify, that all 
those parcels of land before specified, amounting to 
the number of eighty-seven acres, more or less, is fully 
impropriated to said William Dyre and his heirs for 

This land is beautifully situated on Narragansett Bay, 
opposite Coaster's Island, and is at the extreme end of 
what is called " Old Newport." When I visited the 
place in September, 1883, I found an old family burial 
ground of the Dyres, which is protected by a high, 
strong fence, and is literally " impropriated to the heirs 
of William Dyre, foreve7\''^ It was very touching to 
look upon this " God's acre," the only relic left to show 
who were the proprietors of that lovely spot, more than 
two centuries ago. 

With Longfellow, 

" I like that ancient Saxon phrase which calls 
The burial ground God's acre! It is just. 
It consecrates each grave within its walls, 
And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust." 


Many of the inscriptions on the tombstones are leg- 
ible, but undoubtedly, many stones liave been broken, 
and destroyed, by the ravages of time. It is probable, 
also, that there were some interments, with no stones to 
mark the last resting place of those who were buried 
there. The oldest stone legible is that of Desire Dyre, 
1707, and the last interment was that of Wm. Dyre of 
South Kingstown, September, 1797, aged 91 years. Be- 
sides this estate and some other lands, William Dyre 
of Newport, owned an island in Narragansett Bay con- 
taining 600 acres which was called " Dyre's Island," and 
still bears his name. On the 5th August, 1670, he gave 
it to his son William. After the settlement of Rhode 
Island, many people of various opinions went there, 
and it used to be said that any man who had lost his 
religion would be sure to find it again, at some village 
in Khode Island ! " The laws of the colony were based 
on the plan of perfect religious toleration, and good 
Roger Williams would not permit any thing else. In 
the mean time, there were various organizations for the 
protection of the laws. A formal act of the whole peo- 
ple passed at this time, will set their regard for justice 
and their care in providing for its administration, in 
still clearer light. 

" By the Body Politicke in the Isle of Aquitteneck, 
inhabiting this present 25th of 9th month, 1639. 

" In the fourteenth yeare of y' Raign of our Soveraign 
Lord, King Charles. It is agreed, that as natural sub- 
jects to our Prince, and subject to his Lawes, all matters 
that concerne the Peace shall be by those that are officers 


of the Peace transacted ; And all actions of the case, on 
Debt, shall be in such Courts as by order are here ap- 
pointed and, by such Judges as are deputed, heard and 
legally determined. 

"Given at Niew-Port on the Quarter Courte day 
which was adjourned till y' day. 

" William T>yre^ Secretary." 

At the first General Court of Election ever held in 
Newport, in 1640, various officers were elected; among 
them, William Coddington Governor, William Dyre 

The first General Assembly met at Portsmouth, 1647, 
when William Dyre was chosen Eecorder. They agreed 
upon a body of laws, chiefly taken from the laws of 
England, with the addition of a few suited to their par- 
ticular circumstances. The code, which contains noth- 
ing except civil regulations, concludes thus : " Other- 
wise than thus, what is hei-ein forbidden, all men may 
walk as their consciences persuade them, every one in 
the name of his God. And let the lambs of the Most 
High walk, in this colony, without molestation, in the 
name of Jehovah, their God, for ever and ever." 

Governor Coddington, it is said, was "among the most 
turbulent spirits." He was strongly attached to the 
King's party, against that of the Protector, and main- 
tained that his authority was paramount in the govern- 
ment of the colony. In 1649, Coddington went to Eng- 
land, and found King Charles already beheaded, and the 
Commonwealth declared. He obtained a hearing of the 


Council, and received a commission to govern the island 
of Rliode Island, and Canoniciit, during his life, with 
a council of six men, to be named by the people and 
approved by himself. The alarm felt throughout the 
colony was great, and preparations were immediately 
made to send delegates to England, to obtain a revoca- 
tion of Coddington's power. John Clarke, Roger Will- 
iams, and William Dyre were sent, and accomplished 
their important errand. An order of council was is- 
sued, vacating the commission of Coddington, and 
ordering the towns again to unite under the charter. 
The mission was successful, at every point. Two of 
the agents remained in England, on their private bus- 
iness, and also to sustain the rights of the colony, while 
Williaon Dyre returned home with the joyful news, 
leaving his wife, who had accompanied him, in England. 
This was in 1652. Some time afterward, when Cod- 
dington was elected Commissioner, and there was great 
dissatisfaction, ha was compelled to submit to the au- 
thority of the colony in these words : " I, William Cod- 
dington, do hereby submit to y® authoritie of His High- 
ness in this Colonic, as it is now" united, and that, with 
all my heart." In 1653, active measures were taken 
against the Dutch, who were sending exploring parties, 
and making claims along Long Island Sound. William 
Dyre received a commission to act against the enemy, 
and for a time commanded a privateer. The commis- 
sion " constituted Captain John Underhill Commander- 
in-Chief upon the land, and Captain William Dyre 
Commander-in-Chief at sea; 3'et '"to join in counsel, 


to be assistant each to the other, for the propagating of 
the service promised." How much maritime skill 
William Djre possessed has not come down to us, but 
he seems to have been ready for any emergency. His 
dislike of Coddington continued all these years, and 
there seemed little probability of any harmony between 
them. In an article on " Highways," from the Colonial 
Land Evidence, he speaks of a " highway from the town, 
laid out, of two poles wide, to William Dyre's farm, and 
so to lead to the lauds on the north side of the town, 
viz.: the meadows, Mr. Coddington's cow pasture, the 
Artillery garden, etc." He significantly adds, " Thus 
much I have said and do affirm to the best of my un- 
derstanding and knowledge, in the common good, 
wherein all men have right, and if any one is impeached 
the whole is wronged (as to concerning highways 
through which all have propriety of free egress). And 
because this particular doth emearge to that which is 
committed to our care, I do declare, in my observation, 
two or three impediments : First, Mr. Coddington, in 
that highway that goes to the Artillery garden and 
burying place, he hath set near sixty poles of fencing 
upon the highway, six feet at least, at the north end. 
Let them, therefore, that know any injury in this 
kind, put it down, under their hands, as I now have 
done, and be ready to make it good, as I am, so 
shall we avoid hypocrisy, dissimulation, back-bitting, 
and secret wolveish devourings, one of another, 
and declare ourselves men, which, how unmanlike 
the practice of some sycovents are, is and may safely 


be demonstrated : Therefore, let all that love the 
light come forth to the light and show their deeds. 
So saith William Dyre. This as a record, I give forth 
to be a record, from the simple and honest intent of ray 
heart and soul, this 15th February, 1654." 

Certainly no one can accuse William Dyre of a want 
of frankness, and he seems always to have been most 
honorable in his intention, and just in his dealings. His 
dislike of Governor Coddington was always ready to 
manifest itself. This dislike was shared by many others, 
and a letter was addressed to Oliver Cromwell, setting 
forth the complaints of the colonists, to which he replied 
by letter March 29th, 1655, telling them that they were 
to " proceed in their government according to the tenor 
of their charter, taking care of the peace and safety of 
those plantations, that neither through any intestine 
commotions, or foreign invasions, there do arise any 
detriment or dishonor to this commonwealth." He 
adds, "And so we bid you farewell, and rest your loving 
friend, Oliver, P." 

As their " loving friend " did not long remain Protec- 
tor, a very liberal charter was granted by King Charles 
II., July 8, 1663, and remained in force for many 
years. In 1664, the royal commissioners having 
nearly completed the subjugation of the Dutch provin- 
ces, had their headquarters on board the English fleet 
lying in the harbor of New York. A delegation, con- 
sisting of John Clarke, who had lately returned home, 
Captain John Cranston, and Wm. Byre, was sent on 
with a letter from the authorities of Ehode Island, ex- 


pressing the gratitude of the colony to his Majesty for 
the charter, and congratulating the commissioners. It 
is pleasant to know that, after various litigations with 
Coddington for many years, William Dyre and he 
were formally reconciled to each other May 14, 1656. 

But a great sorrow was in store for William Dyre. 
"When he left England in 1652, his wife remained 
there with her relatives. One can imagine her delight 
in seeing once more the beautiful land of her birth, 
after all the hardships of this western wilderness. Dur- 
ing her visit of five years in Great Britain, Mary 
Dyre became a Friend, and was a minister of that 
society, at the time of her return to the forbidden 
port of Boston. The year 1656 will be darkly mem- 
orable in the annals of New England, for the arrival 
of the Quakers, and the commencement of their per- 
secution in Boston. The appearance of this "cursed 
sect of heretics," as they were called, so alarmed the 
Puritans, that a day of public humiliation was ap- 
pointed to be held in all the churches, mainly on tlieir 
account. A stringent law was enacted for their sup- 
pression, and two years later, their tenets were made 
a capital offence. Fines, imprisonment, whipi)ing, 
banishment, mutilation, and death, were inflicted upon 

The wildest fanaticism on the part of the Quakers 
was met by frenzied bigotry on the part of the 
Puritans. Such was the most miserable state of affairs, 
when Mary Dyre, in 1657, returned to the land of 
her adoption. She had no knowledge of what liad 


been done in Massachusetts, but was at once seized, 
and cast into prison. 

When her husband (who had not adopted the faith 
of tlie Friends) heard of her imprisonment, he came 
from Rhode Island, and succeeded in obtaining her re- 
lease, and leave to take her home, after becoming 
" bound in a great penalty not to lodge her in any 
town of the colony, nor to permit any to have speech 
with her on the journey." 

What a meeting for the long-parted husband and 
wife, and how humiliating such a concession ! Mary 
Dyre spent some time in her Newport home, and then 
ventured again into Massachusetts, to carry comfort 
and cheer, to her captiv^e fellow-believers there, feeling 
that she went in obedience to the divine call. She 
was again imprisoned, and at her arraignment before 
Governor Endicott she "gave no other answer but 
that she denied our law, and came to bear witness 
against it, and could not choose but come." 

One cannot but think, in this connection, of the 
often quoted saying of grand old Martin Luther, 
when he made his defence at the Diet of Worms. 
"Here standi. lean do no otherwise. God help 
me !" As Marj^ Dj^re's brave determination could not 
be conquered, Governor Endicott pronounced the sen- 
tence of death upon her. 

" After Mary Dyer had heard her sentence, she only 
replied by the significant words, ' The will of the Lord 
be done.' And when Endicott impatiently exclaimed, 
' Take her away, marshal,' she added, ' Yea, joyfully I 


go ; ' for her heart was filled witli heavenly consolation 
from the love of Christ, and from the thought that she 
was counted worthy to suffer for His sake. She told 
the marshal that it was unnecessarv for him to ofuard 
her to the prison. 'I believe you, Mrs. Dyre,' he 
answered, * but I must do as I am commanded.' 
From her prison she addressed an ' Appeal to the 
Kulers of Boston,' in which she asks nothing for 
herself, but manifests the courage of an apostle 
contending for the truth, and the tenderness of a 
woman, feeling for the sufferings of her people. Her 
appeal is pervaded throughout, by a simple and 
touching dignity. She writes : ' "Whereas, I am 
by many charged with the guiltiness of my own 
blood ; if you mean in my coming to Boston, I am 
therein clear and justified by the Lord, in whose 
will I came, who will require my blood of you, 
be sure, who have made a law to take away the lives 
of the innocent servants of God, if thev come amonor 
you, who are called by you cursed Quakers ; although 
I say I am a living witness for them and the Lord, 
that he hath blessed them, and sent them unto you : 
therefore, be not found fisjliters ao-ainst God, but let 
my counsel and request be accepted with you to repeal 
all such laws, that the truth and servants of the Lord 
may have free passage among you, and you be kept 
from shedding innocent blood, which I know there are 
many among you would not do, if they knew it so to 
be. I have no self ends, the Lord knoweth : for if my 
life were freely granted by you it would not avail me. 


nor could I expect it of you, so long as I should daily 
hear or see the sufferings of these people, my dear 
brethren, with whom my life is bound up, as I have 
done these two years ; and now it is like to increase, 
even unto death, for no evil doing but coming among 
you. Was ever the like laws heard of among a peo- 
ple that profess Christ come in the flesh ? And 
have such no other weapons but such laws to fight 
against spiritual wickedness, withal, as you call it ? 
Woe is me for you ! I leave these lines with you, 
appealing to the faithful and true witness of God, 
which is one in all consciences, before whom we must 
all appear — with whom I shall eternally rest in ever- 
lasting joy and peace, whether you will hear or forbear. 
With Him is my reward, with whom to live is my joy, 
and to die is my gain, though I had not had your 
forty-eight hours' warning for the preparation of the 
death of Maiy Dyre. Oh, let none of you put this 
good day far from you, which verily, in the light of 
the Lord, I see approaching, even to many in and 
about Boston, which is the bitterest and darkest pro- 
fessing place, and so to continue so long as you have 
done, that ever I heard of. Let the time past, there- 
fore, suffice for such a profession as brings forth such 
fruits as these laws are. In love and in the spirit of 
meekness, I again beseech you, for I have no enmity 
to the persons of any ; but you shall know that God 
will not be mocked ; but what ye sow, that shall ye 
reap for Him, that will render to every one according 
to the deeds done in the body, whether good or evil. 
Even so be it, saith Mary Dyre.' " 


It is said that on the day preceding that appointed 
for the execution, Mary Dyre's eldest son (Samuel) ar- 
rived in Boston, and was allowed to remain all night 
with his mother ; he came in the vain hope of inducing 
her to make such concessions as might be the means 
of saving her life. Boston Common was separated by 
the distance of a mile from the jail, and the pris- 
oners were escorted bv two hundred men, armed with 
halberds, guns, swords, and pikes, in addition to many 
horsemen. The drummers were ordered to walk im- 
mediately before the captives, and to beat more loudly, 
if they should attempt to speak. William Robinson 
and Marmaduke Stevenson, who had experienced the 
blessedness of living under a higher and holier law than 
any mere human authority, felt that the Lord still had 
need of them to testify for him in this colony, and had 
remained there, at the peril of their lives. They also 
were condemned to death, and went with Mary Dyre 
to the scaffold, "with great cheerfulness," saying '"We 
suffer not as evil-doers, but as those who have testilied 
and manifested the truth.'' From " A History of the 
Christian People called Quakers," by William Sewel, I 
quote the conclusion of this terrible tragedy. " Mary 
Dyre, seeing her companions hanging dead before her, 
also stepped up the ladder ; but, after her dress was 
tied about her feet, the noose put about her neck, and 
her face covered with a handkerchief, which the priest 
Wilson lent the hangman, just as she was about to be 
executed, a cry was heard : ' Stop ! she is reprieved I ' 
Her feet then being loosed, they bade her come down. 


But she, whose mind was already, as it were, in Heaven, 
stood still, and said she was then willing to suffer as 
her brethren did, unless they would annul their wicked 
law. Little heed was given to what she said ; but they 
took her down, and the mai'shal and others, taking her 
by the arms, carried her to prison again. That she was 
freed from the gallows, this time, was at the interces- 
sion of her son, to whojn, it seems, they could not then 
resolve to deny that favor. She, now having heard 
why she was reprieved, wrote the next day, being the 
28th of October, 1659, the following letter to the Court : 

" ' Once more to the General Court assembled in Bos- 
ton, speaks Mary Dyre, even as before. My life is not 
accepted, neither availeth me, in comparison of the 
lives, and liberty of the truth, and servants of the living 
God, for which, in the bowels of love and meekness, I 
sought you; yet nevertheless, with wicked hands, 
have you put two of them to death, which makes me 
to feel that the mercy of the wicked is cruelty. I rather 
choose to die than to live, as from you, as guilty of their 
innocent blood ; therefore, seeing my request is hin- 
dered, I leave you to the righteous Judge and Searcher 
of all hearts, who, with the pure measure of light He 
hath given to every man to profit withal, will, in his 
due time, let you see whose servants you are, and of 
whom you have taken counsel, which I desire you to 
search into, but all his counsel hath been slighted, and 
you would none of his reproofs. Read your portion : 
Proverbs, i. 24 to 32. 

'' ' "When I heard your last order read, it was a disturb- 


ance unto me that was so freely offering up my life to 
Him tliat gave it to me, and sent me hither so to do, 
which obedience he gloriously accompanied with his 
presence, and peace and love in me, in which I rested 
from my labors till, by your order and the people. I 
was so far disturl^ed that I could not retain any more 
of the words thereof, than that I should return to 
prison and there remain forty and eight hours ; to which 
I submitted, finding nothing from the Lord to the con- 
trary, that I may know what His pleasure and counsel 
is concerning me, on whom I wait therefore, for he is 
my life and the length of my days ; and, as I said be- 
fore, I came at His command, and go at His command. 

" 'Mary Dyre.' 

"The magistrates, now perceiving that the putting 
"William R,ol)inson and Marmaduke Stevenson to death 
caused great discontent among the people, resolved to 
send away Mary Dyre, thereby to calm their minds a 
little. And so she was put on horseback, and by four 
horsemen conveyed fifteen miles towards Rhode Island, 
where she was left with a horse, and a man, to be con- 
veyed the rest of the way ; which she soon sent back, 
and so repaired home. By the style of her letters and 
her undaunted carriage, it appears that she had indeed 
many extraordinary qualities. She was also of a comely 
and grave countenance, of a good family and estate, 
and a mother of several children ; but her husl)and, it 
seems, was of another persuasion. 

"After her return to Rhode Island, she went from 


thence to Long Island, where she spent the most part 
of the winter, and then, coming home again, she was 
moved to return to that bloody town of Boston, whither 
she came on the 21st of the third month, 1660, and on 
the 31st she was sent for by the General Court. Being 
come, the Governor, John Endicott, said : ' Are you the 
same Mary Dyre that was here before ? ' And it seems 
he was preparing an evasion for her, as she might 
easily have replied 'No.' But she was so far from 
disguising, that she answered, undauntedly : ' I am the 
same Mary Dyre that was here at the last General 
Court.' Then Endicott said : ' You will own yourself 
a Quaker, will you not ? ' To which Mary Dyre said, 
'I own myself to be reproachfully called so.' And 
Endicott said the sentence was passed upon her at the 
last General Court, and now, likewise. ' You must re- 
turn to the prison, and there remain till to-morrow, at 
nine o'clock ; then from thence you must go to the 
gallows, and there be hanged till you are dead.' To 
which Mary Dyre said : ' This is no more than what 
thou saidst before.' And Endicott returned : ' But 
now it is to be executed ; therefore, prepare yourself ; 
to-morrow, at nine o'clock.' She then spoke thus : ' I 
came in obedience to the will of God, the last General 
Court, desiring you to repeal your unrighteous laws of 
banishment on pain of death ; and that same is my 
work now, and earnest request ; although I told you 
that, if you refused to repeal them, the Lord would send 
others of his servants to witness against them.' Where- 
upon Endicott asked her if she was a prophetess? And 


she answered that she spoke the words that the Lord 
spoke in her, and now the thing was come to pass. And 
beginning to speak of her call, Endicott cried, ' Away 
with her ! away with her ! ' So she was brought to the 
prison-house where she was before, and kept close shut 
up until the next day. About the appointed time the 
marshal, Michaelson, came, and called her to come 
hastily ; and coming into the room where she was, she 
desired him to 'stay a little;' and, speaking mildly, 
said she ' should be ready presentl3\' But he, being 
of a rough temper, said he ' could not wait upon her, 
but she should now wait upon him.' One Margaret 
Smith, her companion, being grieved to see such hard- 
heartedness, spoke something against their unjust laws 
and proceedings. To which he said, ' You shall have 
your share of the same.' Then Mary Dyre was brought 
forth, and, with a band of soldiers, led through the 
town, the drums being beaten before and behind her, 
and so continued, that none might hear her speak all 
the way to the place of execution, which was about a 
mile. With this guard she came to the gallows, and, 
being gone up the ladder, some said to her that, if she 
would return, she might come down and save her life. 
To which she replied, ' Nay, I cannot ; for, in ol^edieuce 
to the will of the Lord I came, and in His will I abide, 
faithful to the death.' Then Captain John "Webb said, 
that she had been there before, and had the sentence of 
banishment upon pain of death, and broken the law in 
coming again now, and therefore she was guilty of her 
own blood. To which she returned : ' Nay, I came to 


keep blood-guiltiness from you, desiring you to repeal 
the unrighteous and unjust law of banishment upon 
pain of death made against the innocent servants of the 
Lord ; therefore, my blood will be required at your 
hands, who wilfully do it. But for those that do it in 
the simplicity of their hearts, I desire the Lord to for- 
give them. I came to do the will of my Father, and 
in obedience to His will I stand, even to death.' The 
priest, Wilson, said : ' Mary Dyre, O repent ! O repent ! 
and be not so deluded and carried away by the deceit 
of the devil.' To this Mary Dyre answered : ' Nay, 
man, I am not now to repent.' And being asked by some, 
whether she would have the elders pray for her, she said : 
'I know never an elder here.' Being farther asked 
whether she would have any of the people to pray for 
her, she answered that she desired the prayers of all 
the people of God. When accused of having said she 
had been in Paradise, she replied without hesitation : 
' Yea, I have been in Paradise these several days. This 
is to me an hour of the greatest joy I ever had in this 
world. No ear can hear, no tongue can utter, no heart 
can understand the sweet incomes and the refreshings 
of the Spirit of the Lord which I now feel ! ' In this 
frame of mind, this honest, valiant woman died, — a 
martyr to her faith." 

A Friend who had united in her ministerial services 
on Shelter Island, sums up his description of her, by 
saying: "She even shined in the image of God." 
There will always be a difference of opinion as to the 
course she pursued ; but no one can question her won- 


derful bravery, and certainly, not many can now be 
found, who would have the courage to imitate it. The 
raotto of one branch of the Dyer family, " Terrere nolo, 
timere nescio" (To affright, I would not — to fear, I 
know not), seems to have been applicable in her case. 
A strong sense of duty, and an intense hatred of wrong, 
influenced her actions ; and while we may, perhaps, feel 
that it was a mistaken duty, we cannot but admire and 
reverence the real nobleness, and grandeur, of her char- 
acter. The " Divine immanence," of which our Quaker 
poet, John G. Whittier, speaks, seems to have lifted her 
above all the sufferings of earth, and given her a faith 
which nothing could weaken — a courage which never 

Edward Wanton, a member of one of the most dis- 
tinguished families of Ehode Island, and the first of 
the name in America, was an officer of the guard, when 
Mary Dyre suffered death. The unshaken firmness 
with which she submitted to her fate moved Wanton, 
greatly. " Alas, mother ! " said he, as he went into his 
house after the execution, " we have been murdering 
the Lord's people ;" and taking off his sword, he made a 
solemn vow never to wear it again. Kot long after- 
ward, he became a member of the society of Friends. 
Amelia Opie, in her excellent work entitled " Illustra- 
tions of Lying," mentions Mary Dyre as one of the in- 
stances of those M'hom even the fear of death has not 
been able to terrify into falsehood, because they were 
supported in their integrity by the fear of God. 

As William Dyre had not adopted the tenets of the 


Friends, it could hardly have been possible for him to 
sympathize in the views of his wife ; and no doubt, her 
course did not always meet with his approval. He 
wrote many pathetic letters to Governor Endicott, 
sometimes " blaming her," but speaking of her as his 
" dear wife." She spent much time away from home, 
in ministering to the comfort of those who needed her 
aid. It has been said that " no Puritanical power, no 
human hand, was strong enough to suppress the heav- 
en-implanted and divinely directed zeal of the Friends 
to share their spiritual treasure with others." A few 
days before Mary Dyre's death, her husband in great 
anguish of mind, he being wholly ignorant that she 
-meditated this fatal step, wrote to the General Court of 
Massachusetts, once more imploring its clemency. 
His entreaties would have moved a stone to pity. 

But it was now, too late. In a letter to Governor 
Endicott dated May 27, 1660, he says, " I have not 
seen my wife lately and, therefore, cannot tell how, in 
the frame of her spirit, she was moved thus again, to 
run so great a hazard to herself, and come to your 
jurisdiction. Unhappy journey ! " 

Those were, indeed, bitter days for "William Dyre, 
and for his family. There were many other instances 
of most revolting cruelty practiced upon persons not 
resident in Ehode Island, and which continued till 
Charles II. peremptorily forbade any further murders 
to be perpetrated in the name of God, by those infuri- 
ated zealots. An Eno-lish writer has said that " the most 
important fact concerning Mary Dyre is that of her 


murder having been the motive of the wonderfully 
liberal charter granted by Charles IL, to the province 
of Rhode Island, making it the lirst spot of earth on 
the globe, whereon religious toleration and absolute 
freedom of worship were established by law. What 
influence the Dyres may have possessed at court 
is not known, but it is possible to account for the 
interest taken in her fate by Charles II., (who is 
not to be credited with any purely humane considera- 
tions,) from the fact that Mai-y had probably descended 
from Sir Ludovick Dyer, Baronet, of Stoughton, 
Hampshire county, whose patent bears date of 8th 
June, 1627, (temp. Charles I.)." 

Arnold, in his history of Rhode Island, says of the 
Puritans : " In estimating their characters, we are too 
apt to judge them by the light of the present day. 
They founded a colony for their own faith, without 
any idea of tolerating others. For doing this, they have 
been chai-ged with bigotry, fanaticism, and folly. Every 
epithet has been applied to them, that can be employed 
to express detestation of the conduct of men acting un- 
der a sober conviction of truth. Regarding their con- 
duct from the standpoint of the nineteenth century, all 
this may be just. The like proceedings in this age, 
would deserve the severest sentence of condemnation. 
But not so, two hundred years ago. The bigotry of 
the Puritans was the bigotry of their times. In every 
act, they illustrated the spirit of the age." From this 
point of view, we must forgive them for the bitterness 
of a persecution which brought the life of Mary Dyrc 


to an untimely end on the 1st of June, 1660. It has 
been said of her that she was "one of those rare spirits 
who 2i.YQ predestined to become martyrs and saints to 
the faith they profess." The sons of William and 
Mary Dyre were Samuel, William, Henry, Mahershal- 
alhashbaz, and Charles. The following record shows 
that there were, at least, two daughters : " July 25, 
1670, Samuel and Henry Dyre bind themselves to 
their father, William Dyre, to pay to their sister (eld- 
est daughter of William) £100 within three years after 
the death of their father, and to Elizabeth Dyre (second 
daughter of William) the sum of £40 when eighteen 
years of age." The remarkable Scripture name given 
to the fourth son, can be found in the eighth chapter 
of Isaiah, first verse. It is a striking illustration of 
the great fondness for Old Testament names, which 
prevailed at that time, — a fondness which, it is said, 
brought Beelzebub into use. The tragic death of the 
wife and mother must have greatly saddened the lives 
of William Dyre and his family; but unfortunately, our 
accounts of them are very meagre. The commercial 
prosperity of Newport began early in the history of the 
country, when, owing to its magnificent harbor, it be- 
came one of the principal ports of the New World, 
and for a time rivalled New York in its general com- 
merce, and surpassed it in the special branches of whal- 
ing and trade with Africa and the Indies. It is pain- 
ful to add that many of the fortunes which were ac- 
cumulated were the result of a vigorous prosecution of 
the African slave trade. On the breaking out of the 


Revolutionary War, Newport was, to a great extent, de- 
serted by its inhabitants and, being left in a defenceless 
state, was occupied by the British for the three years 
succeeding 1776. It was used for the most part as a 
naval station, though some SOOO English and Plessians 
were, during most of the time, either quartered in the 
town or encamped in its suburbs. When the town 
was evacuated in 1779, many buildings were wantonly 
destroyed. At this time, the inhabitants numbered 
only about 4000 souls ; and although efforts were at 
once made to restore its prosperity as a commercial 
port, it never recovered from the depressing effects of 
British occupation. It is unfortunate that the town 
records were either carried off, or destroyed hy the 
British, for, with them, was lost the only source of in- 
formation regarding the glory of ante- Revolutionary 
Newport. The loss of these valuable documents pre- 
vents us from having much knowledge of the marriages, 
births, and deaths of members of the Dyre family, or 
their wills. Neither do we know what were their 
church relations. William Dyre, after the death of his 
wife, continued his public services, and was chosen So- 
licitor for the colony. In 1665, in a petition to the Com- 
missioners, he offended the authorities by the freedom 
of his complaints ; and " being reasoned with, admit- 
ted his fault, in writing, to the Assembly, and received 
pardon." On May 27th, 1669, it is recorded that 
" William Dyre, Secretary of the Councell, this day 
rendered up unto the Councell, the books and ])apers 
which belonged unto them, and also the scale.'' It is 


hardly possible that a life of such constant activity and 
care should pass without leaving its traces upon him, 
in various v^-ays, and he must at times have been very 
weary of it. Many years had passed since he first land- 
ed in America, and how little peace, and quietness, he 
had known ! His children, too, were beginning to 
leave him for other homes. William Dyre, Jr., about 
the time of his mother's death, went to the State of 
Delaware. There are many of his descendants, among 
the first families of Delaware and Maryland. The 
"Wynkoops, Georges, Bradfords. the families of Judge 
Milligan, of Wilmington, and of the Hon. Lewis Mc- 
Lane, all belong to the Dyre genesis. 

Samuel Dyre, the oldest son of William and Mary, 
married Ann Hutchinson, daughter of Captain Edward 
Hutchinson, and granddaughter of the famous Ann 
Hutchinson. She was also a grandniece of the poet, 
John Dryden. Mrs. Dyre's grandmother is described 
as " a woman of great intellectual endowments and of 
masculine enei'gy, to whom even her enemies ascribed 
unusual mental powers, styling her " the masterpiece 
of woman's wit," and describing her as " a gentlewoman 
of an haughty carriage, busy spirit, competent wit, and 
a voluble tongue ; who, by a remarkable union of char- 
ity, devotion and ability, soon became the leader not 
only of her own sex, but of a powerful party in the 
state and church, so that her opponents have termed 
her " The Nonsuch." She went first to Providence, 
and thence to Aquidneck, which had just been pur- 
chased by the fugitives of her party, and where her 


husband died in 1642. Soon after this bereavement, 
she removed with her family to a spot near Hurl Gate, 
within the Dutch jurisdiction, where, in a short time, 
she and, with the exception of one child, all her house- 
hold, sixteen in number, were murdered by the Indians 
in 164:3. Whether her granddaughter, Mrs. Samuel 
Dyre, inherited Mrs. Hutchinson's talents and graces, 
we do not know. Mrs. Dyre was early left a widow 
with two sons, Samuel and Edward, and September 
22d, 1679, at Tower Hill, Xarragansett, she married 
Daniel Yernon, a man of very superior education, who 
spoke several languages, and was long a tutor in the 
family of Lodowick Updike, in Xortli Kingstown. She 
had three children after her marriage to Mr. Yernon — 
Daniel, Samuel, and Catharine; from them are sprung 
one of the most distinguished families of Newport. A 
descendant, William Yernon, was in familiar corre- 
spondence with La Fayette, Adams, Yiscount Xoailles, 
Franklin, and other men of note in his day. He was 
a great friend of learning, and was appointed president 
of the Redwood Library on the death of its founder 
and first president ; and the Second Congregational 
Church owed much to his liberality. He entered heart 
and soul into the cause of freedom during the Revolu- 
tion; and it is said that, " to his unflinching devotion to 
liberty, personal sacrifices, and extraordinary exertions, 
America, under Providence, owes much of her success 
upon the sea." Ann Dyre Yernon died January 10th, 
1716, and her gravestone is still standing in the Yernon 
lot at Newport, beside that of her husband. Her 



father, Captain Edward Hutchinson, was actively en- 
gaged in King Philip's war, and commanded a body of 
troops. In his will, proved in Boston in 1675, he gives 
all his Narragansett lands to Elizabeth Winslow, Ann 
Dyre, and Susanna Hutchinson — the latter afterwards 
married Nathaniel Coddington, 

The name of Samuel Dyre appears in various records. 

In 1661, land in Narragansett, called Misquamokuck 
(now Westerly), was taken by William Dyre, Sr., 
Samuel Dyre, and Mahershalalhashbaz Dyre, and^arti- 
cles of agreement between an Indian captain and others 
were signed by them. William Dyre was appointed to 
transcribe the deeds, testimonies, ratifications, etc. At a 
general meeting, February 17th, 1661-2, William Dyre 
was chosen surveyor of Misquamokuck. At the court 
held at Acquedneset, near Wickford, May 20th, 1671, 
the persons inhabiting here being called to give their 
eno-asement and desirino; to know whether or no the 
court, on behalf of the colony, do lay any claim to their 
possessions which they now inhabit, which persons 
were Mr. Samuel Dyre and others. To which demand 
this present court do return unanimously this answer : 
That on behalf of the colony this court do not lay any 
claims to their possessions which they now inhabit. 
May 21st, 1669, Samuel Dyer, of Narragansett, was ap- 
pointed one of two conservators of his Majesty's peace 
for the Narragansett country — the other being Richard 
Smith. The latter had, in 1639, established a trading 
post, and erected the first English dwelling at Wick- 


ford. In 1656, Mr. Smith leased of the Indians, for 
66 years, all the land which now forms the present 
site of Wickford. A few years afterwards, he leased 
it again for a thousand years. In 166(», he received a 
quitclaim deed of nearly, if not quite all, of these 
lands. Some estimate may be formed of his extensive 
domain, when we lind that the tract was nine miles 
long, and three miles in width. Roger Williams 
named the place Wickford, in honor of a lady guest of 
Richard Smith's. Smith bought also Mr. Williams' in- 
terest, including " his trading house, his two big guns, 
and a small island (Rabbit Island) for goats." 

The following letter from Roger Williams, with 
reference to this estate of Richard Smith's, is so quaint 
that I cannot resist insertinor it, 

Nahiggonsik, 24th July, 1679, (ut vulgo). 
" 1st. I, Roger Williams, of Providence, in theNahig- 
gonsik bay in N. Engl., being (b}' God's mersie) ye first 
beginner of ye Towne of Providence and of ye Col- 
ony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 
being now neere to Foure Score years of age, yet (by 
God's mersie) of sound understanding and memorie, 
doe humbly and faithfully declare yt Mr. Richard 
Smith, Senior, who, for his conscience to God, left faire 
possessions in Gloster Shire, and adventured with his 
Relations and Estate to N. Engl., and was a most ac- 
ceptable Inhabitant and prime leading man in Taunton 
in Plymouth Colony. For his conscience' sake (many 
differences arising) he left Taunton, and came to ye 


Nahiggonsik country, where, by God's mersie and ye 
fave of ye Nahiggonsik sachems he broke ye Ice (at 
his great Charge and Hazard) and put up in ye thickest 
of ye Barbarians ye first English House amongst them. 

" 2d. I liumbly testifieyt about forty years (from this 
date) he kept Possession, comming and going himselfe, 
children and servants, and he had quiet Possession of 
his Howsing, Lands and meadow, and there, in his 
own house, with much serenity of soule and comfort, he 
yielded up his spirit to God, ye Father of Spirits, in 

Never a claim to land in New England was involved 
in greater uncertainty than this. The fight for its pos- 
session lasted long after Roger Williams had been placed 
in his grave. All the surrounding colonies became 
gradually involved in it. Rhode Island came near be- 
ing entirely absorbed by Massachusetts and Connecticut. 
Many were the traditions of long-continued wars and 
bloody conflicts ; and his Indian neighbors had to tell 
when Richard Smith settled in Wickford, in the year 
of our Lord 1639. 

In October 1674, just before King Philip's war, and 
a generation after Richard Smith had taken up his 
abode within it borders. Kings Towne was incorporated. 
It thus became the seventh town in the colony of 
Rhode Island, although, in point of fact, it was proba- 
bly the third settlement. In 1679, the incorporation 
was reaffirmed. In 1722 the town was divided into 
North and South Kingstown, the act of legislature 
providing that North Kingstown be considered the 


elder town. These towns were generally known as the 
"Narragansett country," and their history is full of in- 
terest and romance. In South Kingstown occurred the 
great Narragansett Swamp Fight between the English 
and the Indians, which resulted in the destruction of 
the Narragansetts as a tribe. Commodore Oliver Haz- 
ard Perry, the hero of Lake Erie, was born in South 

The town of East Greenwich was founded in May, 
1677. Five thousand acres were granted to fifty per- 
sons in consideration of services rendered in King 
Philip's war, who thus became proprietors of the 
town, and founders of the new settlement of East 
Greenwich. The early settlers expected great things 
of the town. The liberality with which they 
laid out the streets, shows that they meant that it 
should be worthy of its future greatness. The 
names which they bestowed upon them. King, Queen, 
Marlboro', Duke, London, etc., are proofs of their 
loyalty to the mother country. In the year 1709, 
the town purchased a tract of land adjoining its 
western border, containing thirty-five thousand acres. 
The first Collector was Thomas Arnold. East Green- 
wich has the honor to have printed the first calico 
in America ; some time previous to 1794, a man 
named Dawson erected print works. Jemima Wilk- 
inson had a meeting-house there about 1774. On the 
31st of October, 1677, one hundred acres of the five 
thousand were allotted to Henry Dyre. He had also, 
in 1670 and in 1680, received land by deed from 


his father, William Dyre, and his brother Samuel. 
Whether Henry Dyre resided on his land in East 
Greenwich I have no means of knowing. He died in 
February, 1690, aged 43 years. When I was in that 
pretty town in September, 1883, I found but few old 
records in the office of the town clerk, and most unfort- 
unately, the town records of North Kingstown were 
destroyed by fire, some years ago. Undoubtedly in the 
probate proceedings, much valuable information might 
have been obtained, which is now forever lost. It is 
well known, however, that members of the Dyre fam- 
ily settled on lands bordering on Narragansett Bay. 
Beautiful estates they were, and tradition tells us of 
the style which was long kept up among them. In 
the days of slavery, the colored coachman and footman 
in livery, were by no means uncommon, and the land 
was tilled and cultivated by slave labor. When slav- 
ery was done away with, they probably took the plough 
in their own hands, and could heartily sing with 
Burns, " A man's a man for a' that." At what time 
the name was changed from Dyre to Dyer is not 
known. In a family cemetery of North Kingston I 
found one stone only with the old spelling : that of 
Captain Samuel Dyre, who died April 4th, 1791, in 
the 34th year of his age. Probably the new spelling 
was adopted by degrees. The name certainly was 
not improved by the change, and it is a pity that the 
spelling of years, was not retained. 

In a book recently published in England, I find 


further notices of William, Dyi'e. It is entitled, 
" Dorothea Scott, of Egerton House, Kent, 1611 to 
1680, by G. D. Scull, editor of 'The Evelyns in 
America.' Printed for private circulation by Perker 
& Co., Oxford, 1883." It is stated in the book that 
one John Scott, who came to America, had defrauded 
Mrs. Dorothea Scott, who " did intrust him with the 
whole concernes of her estate, which in the end proved 
fatall to her." The Duke of York commanded Sam- 
uel Pepys, Secretary to the Admiralty, to collect evi- 
dence against Scott. This Samuel Pepys is the au- 
thor of the " Diary " much read and quoted. He had 
an interview with Captain William Dyre in London, 
on the 19th September, 1679, and engaged him to 
collect information in New York and elsewhere, con- 
cerning Scott's antecedents in America. Captain Dyre 
wrote to Pepys '* from on board y* ship Bevei\ in y® 
Downes, y^ 2*^ of 8ber., 1679," and incidentally men- 
tioned that Mr. Randolph " sends his service." This 
was Edward Randolph, Charles II. 's commissioner to 
New England, who made eight voyages aci'oss the At- 
hintic in nine years. Thomas Lovelace, an important 
witness for Pepys, was making a visit to England in 
1680, and on his return that year to New York, Pepys 
gave him letters of introduction to Captain Dyre and Sir 
Edmund Andross. (This Captain Dyre, it is stated, was 
the husband of Mary Dyre, who was executed in 1660, 
in Boston, for her professions of Quakerism. It is also 
stated that the descendants of William Dyre spelled their 
name Dyer.) Samuel Pepys writes to William Dyre : 


" September 20th, 1679. 
" Sib : "Were it not yt y^ Honour of his Majesties 
and his service is more concerned in it than any inter- 
est of my owne, I should not hold it so excusable in 
me to offer y* trouble I am now designing you ; but 
knowing how acceptable anything is to you wherein 
His Honour and y** Justice due to His Ministers is con- 
cerned, I take y^ liberty of putting into your hands an 
Extract of a letter relating to severall parties by him 
therein charged upon one Captain John Scott. I am 
to desire y* so soon as you shall be received where you 
are now going (and towards w'^^ I wish you a happy 
voyage), you will use y** speediest and most effectnall 
means you can of informing yourself e, and enabling me 
to report to his Majesty, what evidences you can col- 
lect of y® truth of y* particulars menc'oned in y^ said 
Extract, and of whatever undue behaviours you shall 
(upon inquiry into y*" legend of Scott's life in New 
England, Long Island, and parts adjacent) obtaine y® 
certaine knowledge of. W''' takeing y*" liberty of re- 
commending to you, 1 beg you to favour me w"' any 
commands of yours wherein I may, in some measure, 
answer yo'' respect to me in this particular, assuring 
you of my being, with all faithfulness, y"" most humble 
servant, Samuel Pepts.'' 

The following letter was written to Samuel Pepys 
by William Dyre, dated : 

New York% 4th January, 1680. 
" Worthy Sir : Yours of the 24th Aug*, by Mr. 


Lovelace, I have received, for which great favour of 
correspondence I own myselfe much obliged, and am 
unexpressibly rejoiced that Sir Anthony and yourselfe 
are out of y* pernitious power of that villain Scott, 
whome, doubtlesse, the hands of Justice one day will 
reach for all his horrid contrivances and practices w"" 
condign punishment.- You may please to know 
hee has a son now gone from here to England, to seek 
out his flfather, hearing that hee was famous in y^ king- 
dome. But I doubt y* young man will be disappointed 
in his expedition ; hee can certainly informe you that 
his mother is alive in y^ province, and yett, as wee 
heare, old Scott had the Impudence to make his ad- 
dresses to y* Lady Yane, and that in a very splendid 
manner, and had not Death (which some say hee oc- 
casioned) put a period to her days, he had most miser- 
ably deluded, deceived, and abused her ladyship. Sir, 
you will (by the occasion of some like Coll. Scott), 
have the advantage of seeing my Governor, Sir Ed- 
mund Andross, in England, who, doubtless, is a person 
of that great worth and honour as not to have his 
name or reputation blemished by anything but what 
is false, envious, and malicious, which has caused the 
Dukes desires of seeing him at home with all speed, 
and soe hath given his Excellency the trouble and danger 
of a severe winter's voyage ; but I hope y* sunshine 
of his happy returne to us in the Spring, will dispell all 
those malevolent clouds, and render the people of 
theis country (under his Maj"*' and Royal Highness 
dominion) as fortunate as formerly by his prudence 


and noble government, the continuance of which, to- 
gether with your health and prosperity, is the hearty 
desire of yours, etc. etc., William Dyke." 

England was at this time having serious difficulty 
with the Dutch, and it may have been that loyalty to 
his native land, took William Dyre to England. It 
has been hinted that he " did a little privateering on 
his own account, and that privateering theii, was com- 
mon with respectable persons." This charge has 
never been sustained, and the esteem in which he 
was held seems to contradict any accusation of unfair 
or dishonest dealing. In a letter from Koger Wil- 
liams to his " dear and loving friends and neighbors, 
of Providence and Warwick," dated from the resi- 
dence of Sir Henry Yane, at Belleau, in Lincolnshire, 
April 1st, 1653, he says : " I hope it may have pleased 
the Most High Lord of sea and land, to bring dear 
Mr. Dyre unto you." After 1680 we lose all trace of 
William Dyre. In that year he was collector of cus- 
toms at New York for the Duke of York. Un- 
doubtedly the town records taken so unceremoni- 
ously, by the British, from Newport would have told 
the tale, now lost to us forever. It is probable that 
advanced age kept him in America for the rest of his 
days, and that he died on his Newport farm in 1681. 
His friend, Roger Williams, died in 1683, aged 84, 
and it is known that the death of William Dyre oc- 
curred before that time. As they had been so closely 
and intimately connected in life, it is pleasant to know 


that their descendants have kept up the friendly tie, 
there havinir been several intermarria£;es amonoj them. 
Some of our best and most valued citizens are proud 
to claim descent from these alliances. 

It has been impossible to trace the liistory of all the 
children of William, and Mary Dyre ; but I liave been 
able to lind tl^ most important laics' with reference to 
the descent of the branch of the family in which I am 
most interested, and it is this : 

First. William and Mary Dyre. 

Second. Samuel, their eldest son, baptized in Bos- 
ton, December 20th, 1635. Married Anne Hutchin- 
son, daughter of Captain Edward Hutchinson, grand- 
daughter of the celebrated Anne Hutchinson, great 
granddaughter of the Re v. Edward^Marbury, of Lincoln- 'y-f/, u if 
shire, England, and grandniece of the poet John Dryden. 

May 21st, 1669, Samuel Dyre was appointed one of 
two conservators of his Majesty's peace for the Narra- 
gansett country, and was long engaged in promoting 
the settlement of that country. 

Third. Edward Dyre, son of Samuel and Anne 
Hutchinson Dyre, was born in 1670. He married 

Mary . Owned a farm in North Kingstown, 

May 7th, 1712, he petitions to the General Assembly 
of Rhode Island concerning a highway near his land. 

Fourth. Edward Dyre, Jr., son of Edward and Mary 
was born in North Kingstown, January 6th, 1701 — lived 
in North Kingstown, and was made freeman. May 
1st, 1722. In 17-18 was deputy to the General As- 
sembly from North Kingstown. 


t { r c .'^?',/S<_ 


Fifth. Edward Dyre (son of Edward, Jr.) was born in 
North Kingstown in 1725. "Was made freeman in 
May, 1T52. Married Elizabeth Fish, Nov. 29th, 1750. 
Their children were "William, Charles, Frances, Benja- 
min, Amherst, Henry., Susannah, Anna, Elizabeth. 

Sixth. Henry Dyre (son of Edward Dyre, 3d) was 
born in North Kingstown, July 12th, 1759. On tlie 
19th of March, 1787, he married Sarah Coy. Soon 
after his marriage he went to Shaftesbury, Vermont, 
and there the following children were born : Moses, 
Anna, Olive, Lydia, Rufus, Dennis, David, Daniel, 
Lewis, Heman. His son Dr. Lewis Dyer speaks thus 
of him : " My father was a modest man. He was a 
great reader, especially of history. When he went to 
school he walked three miles, twice a day. He culti- 
vated intellectual arithmetic with much interest, and 
in his old age, when his sons were at home, would 
often reach results by mental process in half the time 
it required them by the use of slate and pencil. There 
was much of the ' old school gentleman ' about him." 

Henry Dyer died January 2d, 1855, aged 95 years. 
Sarah Coy Dyer died July 26th, 1846, aged 77. Their 
last years were spent on a farm delightfully situated in 
the valley between the Green and Equinox ranges of 
mountains, near the beautiful village of Manchester, 
Vermont. In this secluded home they reared their 
family of children, giving them every educational ad- 
vantage possible, and fitting them for useful citizens. 
No iron road then ran through that remote valley, no 
shrill whistle echoing through the mountains gave to 


those dwellers in rural homes intimations of the stir, 
the gatherings, the quick life, the accelerated move- 
ments of the populations of cities. They were far 
away from great centres, which did not, as they now 
do, report themselves daily — transmit daguerreotypes of 
their busy, bustling scenes to the quiet village and 
the lonely farm-house. Children reared amid such 
surroundings must often have longed to pass those 
mountain barriers, and as the family of Henry Dyer 
on " Equinox Farm " grew up, they left their home 
on the hillside, to take their part in the battle of life. 
The farm, however, still remains in the family, and is 
now owned by Douglas Henry Dyer, a grandson of 
Henry Dyer, Senior. The two following sketches are 
of the youngest sons of Henry and Sarah Coy Dyer. 

Lewis Dyer, M.D., son of Henry and Sarah Coy 
Dyer, was born in Shaftesbury, Vermont, February 
24th, 1807. He graduated December, 1828, at the 
Berkshire Medical Institute, Massachusetts, which was 
organized under the charter of Williams College. 
After practicing a few years, at Gloversville, Xew 
York, he emigrated westward in the summer of 1832. 
"While visiting his brother. Rev. Heman Dyer, D. D., 
then connected with Kenyon College, Gambler, Ohio, 
the trustees of the college and theological seminary, 
offered him the position of physician to these institu- 
tions, which he accepted, and filled for a few years. 
That field being too limited for professional labor, he 
moved to Mount Vernon, in the same county, where 


he shared, for a time, an office with the Hon. Cohimbus 
Delano, late Secretary of the Interior — the one dis- 
pensing plijsic — the other, law and metaphysics. 
While liere he edited the Whig newspaper of the city, 
and was a member of the Ohio Whig State Conven- 
tion, called to consider what action should be taken 
consequent upon the repeal of the Missouri Compro- 
mise. While some advocated its restoration, Dr. 
Dyer said, " Let it stand repealed, but never admit 
another slave State into the Union," In 1855 he 
moved to Iowa, but the winters were too severe for 
his wife and daughter, and, declining a professorship 
in a medical college at Keokuk, he sought a more 
genial climate at Du Quoin, Illinois. When the late 
war broke out he was instrumental in sending many 
soldiers into the field and, at the personal request of 
Governor Yates, accepted the position of surgeon to 
the Eighty-first Illinois regiment, to which office this 
regiment elected him. On the day he entered the 
field he was placed upon the operating staff, where he 
remained for two years, after which he was promoted 
to the office of surgeon-in-chief of division, the 
duties of which were both grave and arduous. In 
justice to the subject of this notice, an episode in his 
army life should here be noted. Two or three officers 
of the line, having become displeased with the Doctor, 
succeeded, by subornation of perjury, in having 
certain charges secretly preferred against him and 
forwarded to the Secretary of War. It was a month, 
or more, before this conspiracy came to the Doctor's 


knowledge. It was then communicated by his colonel, 
who advised him to resign. This he indignantly refused 
to do; as, under the circumstances, it would be an 
admission of guilt and both dishonorable and cow- 

He now repaired to General Grant's headquarters 
and, on learning that a document containing certain 
charges had been received and forwarded to the 
Secretary of War, inquired what an innocent, honor- 
able and determined man should do, to vindicate him- 
self. Whereupon General Grant at once issued an 
order to General McPherson to convene a court of 
inquiry, forthwith, to investigate the matter. Such 
a court was convened, and the evidence elicited by it 
not only exculpated the Doctor, but brought to light 
one of the foulest conspiracies on record. The pro- 
ceedings of the court, with a letter from General 
McPherson, were forwarded to the War Department ; 
but, meantime, an order dismissing Dr. Dyer from the 
service, with the loss of all pay, was received and read 
at dress parade. The Doctor was present, and re- 
marked : "" Gentlemen, this matter will not end here !" 
Doffing his shoulder straps, and repairing to General 
McPherson's headquarters, he said to that officer : 
" General, I have come to tender my services to carry 
a musket in the ranks!" The corps medical director, 
who was present, interposed by saying, " If Dr. Dyer 
wishes to volunteer, I shall be verj' glad to assign him 
to duty, as we need his services very much.'" This 
arrangement was entered upon, but shortly terminated 


bj the prompt restoration of the Doctor to his former 
position. He was regarded by his associates as a skill- 
ful, brave and noble officer. A high compliment was 
paid him, when, at the close of the war, the history of 
the Illinois troops being called for, by an act of the 
Legislature, Dr. Dyer was assigned to the duty of 
writing the history of his command. It must be a 
pleasant reflection that, being himself the son of a 
Revolutionary soldier, who fought to establish our 
government and institutions, he and his two sons, 
during "the great rebellion," fought to save them. 
Keturning to Du Quoin after the war, he resumed his 
profession, and has pursued it ever since, conscious of 
the confidence and good will of the public and profes- 
sion, generally. He has ever been an active and effi- 
cient member and once the president of the Southern 
Illinois Medical Association — a body of two hundred 
physicians, all graduates. In 1875, the office of United 
States examining surgeon was offered him, which he 
accepted. During the last year, the board, of which 
he is president, examined over five hundred pensioners. 
He is the friend of popular education, and much of 
his life has been connected with educational interests. 
In politics he is a Republican, but believes the party 
has been needlessly demoralized by the unscrupulous 
conduct of demagogues. He has delivered numerous 
public addresses and lectures on a variety of subjects. 
On General Grant's return to the United States, after 
his voyage around the world, and his visit to Mexico, 
Dr. Dyer, by appointment of his fellow citizens, de- 


livered to him the address of welcome, on his arrival 
at Du Quoin. He commenced as follows : 

" General Grant : I need not say, this assemblage 
of people has no political significance whatever. We 
are met to greet you, and to welcome you home to 
your native land. 

" We have met to show respect to the distinguished 
general and the magnanimous conqueror ; the ex- 
President of the United States, the renowned travel- 
ler, — and the illustrious citizen. We have met to show 
respect to the private citizen who has been honored 
above all other men, living or dead, by the crowned 
heads of Europe and Asia; and who, in the presence 
of royalty and amid the blandishments of court 
etiquette and the dazzling splendor of oriental nations, 
has never uttered a sentiment compromising his per- 
sonal dignity and his exalted personal character ; but 
who has always proved the faithful and true exponent 
of the principles and institutions of his own glorious 

Dr. Dyer has had a large experience in presiding 
over conventions and public assemblies. He was 
president of the large liepublican club of the city in 
which he lives, during the campaigns of Grant, Hayes 
and Garfield. The most notable occasion of this kind 
was at a Congressional convention held at Cairo, 
Illinois, a year or two ago, to nominate a candidate for 
Congress, which, during its two days' and two nights' 
continuance, threatened, several times, to break up in 
a row, and would have done so but for Dr. Dver's 


level Lead and firm hand. His life has always been a 
useful and active one. In December, 1883, he writes 
to a friend, " I shall be, according to tradition, seventy- 
seven years old next February, and this has been one 
of the busiest years of my life !" 

The Rev. Heman Dyer, D. D., was born in the 
town of Shaftesbury, Bennington county, Vermont, 
9'i/o: on the W^ of September, 1810. He was the son of 
'^ Henry and Sarah Coy Dyer. His father and all his 
uncles on his father's side served in the war of the 
Revolution. One of his uncles became a captain in 
the service. 

While Dr. Dyer was yet a child, about six years of 
age, his father removed to Manchester in the same 
county and State. Here he spent the rest of his child- 
hood and early youth, attending the district school 
during the winter and working on the farm in the 
summer. When in his fifteenth year he created quite 
a sensation by commencing the study of Latin, a thing 
unheard of at that day in a district school. In his six- 
teenth or seventeenth year he was sent to the academy 
in Arlington in the same county. Here he pursued 
his studies preparatory to entering college. Among 
his instructors were the Rev. Anson B. Hard, the 
principal of the academy, and the Rev. Dr. Coit, the 
rector of the parish. To these instructors he became 
strongly attached, and for them he ever after cherished 
the sincerest respect. 

During this period Dr. Dyer taught the district 


school in two of the neighborhoods in Arlington, 
spending in all about eight months in this occupation. 
As he was much younger than many of his scholars, he 
had to assume an air of dignity and importance, which 
seemed rather comical to himself and his friends. It 
being the custom for the school-master and the school- 
mistress to board round among all the families of the 
district, he thus acquired a kind of knowledge and ex- 
perience, which served a most valuable purpose during 
the rest of his life. While pursuing his studies in 
Arlington, there occurred an incident which shaped, 
very largely, his whole future career. It had been his 
wish and ambition to enter and go through either 
Middlebury College or the University at Burlington, 
both in his native State, but one day at the academy 
there was put in his hand, by some one, a leaflet en- 
titled " The Star in the West," after the fashion of 
Dr. Buchanan's " Star in the East." This leaflet was 
prepared and sent out by the Rt. Rev. Philander 
Chase, D. D., the first bishop of Ohio, and was a plea 
and appeal in behalf of education and Christian missions 
in the West. Bishop Chase was then engaged in 
founding Kenyon College, and the other institutions at 
Gambler. The appeal so stirred up the young student 
that he resolved at once to go to Ohio, at the earliest 
day practicable. When he made his resolution known to 
his classmates and others, they were amazed ; admir- 
ing, no doubt, his pluck more than his wisdom. They 
could not understand how a vouno; ji man should be 
willing to go so far from home, and buiy himself in 


such a wilderness as Ohio then was. Fortunately his 
parents did not oppose the idea, but rather encouraged 

Accordingly, at the close of his second engagement 
as a teacher, about the 20th of April, 1829, he left his 
home, and the East, for the West. The West was then 
most emphatically in Ohio. He made the journey 
from Manchester to Gambier — about the centre of the 
State — entirely by stage, consuming fourteen days and 
nights in continuous traveling. He reached Gambier 
early in May, a perfect stranger, and without even a 
note of introduction from anybody to anybody. He 
commenced his studies without delay, hoping to enter 
the Freshman class in Kenyon College at the beginning 
of the next term, which he succeeded in doing. As 
student, teacher, tutor, and head of one of the depart- 
ments of the institution, he remained in Gambier ten 
years and a half. For two years and more, he occupied 
the anomalous position of a student and also of a mem- 
ber of the faculty. While in these double relations, he 
became acquainted with, and rendered some valuable 
services to, Edwin M. Stanton, afterward the great 
War Secretary in President Lincoln's cabinet ; Mr. 
Stanton never forgot these services. During these 
ten and a half years. Dr. Dyer took his degrees of 
A. B. and A. M. While yet a student he was elected 
as secretary of the Diocesan Convention, and treasurer 
of the Episcopal fund. It was during this period that 
the difficulties arose between Bishop Chase and the 
faculty, with regard to the administration of the insti- 


tutions. Tliese difficulties were followed by the resig- 
nation of the Bishop both as president of the college, 
and Bishop of the diocese. Subsequently, upon the elec- 
tion of Dr. Mcllvaine to succeed Bishop Chase, Dr. 
Dyer was sent East to lay before the Bishop-elect the 
official documents connected with the election and such 
other information as might be desired. After Bishop 
Mcllvaine took charge of the diocese. Dr. Dyer was 
ordained by him, both as deacon and as presbyter. In 
his many and varied duties he was constantly occupied 
until the spring of 184:0, when he removed to Pitts- 
burgh, Penn., and established a classical school there. 
At the head of this school he continued for three years 
or more, when he was elected to a professorship in the 
"Western University of Pennsylvania. After serving 
for one year as professor he was elected principal or, 
as it was subsequently called, chancellor of the institu- 
tion. About this time he received the degree of D.D. 
from Trinity College, Hartford. lie was then in the 
34:th year of his age. In the great fire in Pittsbui-gh 
the University Buildings, with the library and ap- 
paratus, were entirely destroyed. Within a year new 
buildings were erected and the institution was pros- 
perous, but the health of Dr. Dyer was very much 
shattered by his many cares and labors, and in 1849 he 
resigned his connection with the University and re- 
moved to Philadelphia, where he had been invited to 
perform certain duties in connection with the Ameri- 
can Sunday School Union. He continued in this con- 
nection from February, 184:9, to January, 1854. In 


1852 he and his wife visited Europe, spending between 
six and seven months. 

About a year after his return from Europe, he was 
elected Corresponding Secretary and General Manager 
of the Protestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion 
of Evangelical Knowledge, commonly called the Evan- 
gelical Knowledge Society. This society was formed 
in 1847, and had for one of its objects the meeting 
and counteracting of certain tendencies in the Episco- 
pal Church, which had been largely awakened and 
promoted by the somewhat famous Oxford, or Trac- 
tarian, movement in England. 

He accepted the new position to which he had been 
appointed, and removed to New York early in 1854. 
The duties to which he was now called brought him 
more or less into antagonism with many of the leading 
influences of his church. He met the charge of dis- 
loyalty brought against the new society, by inducing 
the Executive Committee to bring out the Book of 
Common Prayer in three or four different sizes, and 
give it the widest possible circulation. For several 
years this society distributed more prayer books than 
all the other societies put together. This action was a 
practical and logical answer to the criticisms which 
had been made. 

From 1854 to 1861, he was constantly employed in 
his duties at the office of the society in New York, 
and in visiting various parts of the country, to attend 
diocesan conventions and public meetings, and to preach 
and make addresses in the interest of the society. 


In 1861, M'hen tlie war broke out, the society was 
actively engaged in publishing books, tracts, and two 
periodicals, the Parish Visitor and the Standard 
Bearer. \]\) to this time the duties of editor-in-chief 
had been discharged, Urst, by the Rev. John S. Stone, 
D. D., and afterwards by the Rev. C. W. Andrews, 
D. D., of Virginia. As the war interrupted all regu- 
lar intercouse with the South, Dr. Dyer was requested 
to act as editor of the society's publications and 
periodicals; this added very largely to his cares and 
responsibilities. In 1861 the American Church Mis- 
sionary Society was organized, and Dr. Dyer was ap- 
pointed Corresponding Secretar3\ About the same 
time the New York branch of the Christian Commis- 
sion was established, and he became its local secretary, 
the Hon. Nathan Bishop being the chief secretary. 
He was also made a director of the American Bible 
Society. In 1862 he was elected the first Bishop of 
the new Diocese of Kansas, which office he declined 
to accept. During the war he was appointed on 
several occasions to visit AVashington, with others, in 
behalf of the work of the Christian Commission. On 
one occasion he was taken by Secretary Stanton into a 
cabinet meeting and, on introducing him to Mr. 
Lincoln, the Secretary said, "Mr. President, I wish to 
introduce to you my old friend, the Rev. Dr. Dyer, of 
New York ; he was my friend when I needed a friend." 
To which the President, stretching out his long arm 
and grasping the Doctor's hand, and shaking it vigor- 
ously, responded : " I am glad to see you, sir ; I am 


glad to know any one who helped to make my Secre- 
tary of "War, for I don't know what / should have 
done without him," With that, Mr. Seward, Mr. 
Fessenden, and others of the cabinet clapped their 
hands, and cried " Good, good." 

During one of his visits to Washington he went, in 
company with the Rev. Dr. Butler, to see the magnifi- 
cent army of General McClellan of some 200,000 men, 
encamped a few miles from Washington. Dr. Dyer's 
only son was at this time a soldier in this army. 
While dining with the captain of the company to 
which his son belonged, they were startled by the 
sudden order for the regiments to form and prepare for 
battle. At once the whole scene was changed, and 
infantry, cavalry and artillery were in motion ; the 
dinner and all ceremony were cut short, and the two 
Doctors of Divinity hastened to their horse and wagon, 
which an orderly had charge of, and commenced a 
rapid advance in a direction quite opposite to that 
towards which the troops were moving. 

The battle proved to be the short and sharp skir- 
mish of Drainesville. But it enabled the visitors to 
see the great army in motion, and marching in columns, 
six or eight deep, and at double quick time. On 
another occasion, when Dr. Dyer was called to Wash- 
ington to see his son who was confined in one of the 
hospitals there, Mr. Stanton showed him much atten- 
tion by having him spend the whole morning with 
him in his ofiice at the War Department, and the 
afternoon with him and his family at their private 


residence. Before leaving, the Secretary surprised the 
Doctor by giving him, to take to his son, at the hospi- 
tal, a captain's commission, and the copy of an order 
appointing him to duty, as soon as he should be able 
to leave, in the commissary department in New York. 
He also offered the Doctor an appointment to an impor- 
tant position in connection with the chaplain service, 
which he felt bound to decline. These friendly rela- 
tions between the two parties continued till the death 
of Mr. Stanton. 

During the war Dr. Dyer took an active part with 
Bishop Alonzo Potter and others, in establishing and 
endowing the Philadelphia Divinity School. For 
many years he was a member of its Board of Manage- 
ment. At the close of the war, and at the request of 
several prominent laymen of New York, he visited the 
Theological Seminary of Virginia, and some of the 
government officials at "Washington, in reference to the 
restoration of the buildinors and g-rounds of the institu- 
tion, so that they might again be used for their origi- 
nal purposes. For a considerable time they had been 
occupied as hospitals, and needed many repairs. At a 
later period he visited Richmond in Virginia and 
Charleston, South Carolina, to ascertain the condition 
of things in the South and the best methods of ex- 
tending needed aid on the part of Northern friends. 
These visits resulted in much pecuniary assistance to 
individuals and institutions in that part of the country. 

Dr. Dyer took an active part in the formation of the 
" Latimer Society," and afterwards of the " Clerical 


Associatiou," — both located in New York, and estab- 
lished in the interests of evangelical religion. In 
these and many other associations, he was incessantly 
occupied, and to a degree that most seriously impaired 
his health. 

In 1868 it became evident that he must have rest, or 
completely break down. Accordingly, it was so ar- 
ranged that he could be relieved of his duties ; and 
early in the spring, accompanied by his wife and 
daughter, he sailed for Europe, where he spent several 
months in England and Scotland and on the Con- 
tinent. On his return in October, a breakfast was 
given him by his friends, in one of the public halls. 
In the autumn of 1869 Dr. Dyer met with a most 
serious railroad accident. He was on his way from 
Troy to Manchester, Yt. Heavy rains had produced 
very high water in all the streams, and much damage 
had been done to the railroads. Consequently, the 
trains were running very irregularly. Just before the' 
train on which he had taken passage reached Lansing- 
burg, at a sharp turn of the road, it came into col- 
lision with a train coming from the north. The crash 
was terrible, and the cars of both trains were piled 
on top of one another in a most indescribable manner. 
Only one person was killed, but many were injured. 
This occasioned a delay for several hours. It was 
raining very heavily. Night came on, and everything 
was shrouded in darkness and gloom. The conductor 
told the few passengers in the car that he would take 
them to Hoosick Falls, where they would find hotel 


accommodations. On reaching the Hoosick River, it 
was found to be verj much swollen, and the' passen- 
gers were requested to leave the cars and cross the 
bridge on foot, as it was not safe to attempt to take 
the locomotive and cars across it. With much diffi- 
culty the bridge was crossed, and at about 9 o'clock in 
the evening some ten or fourteen passengers got on 
the locomotive and tender, which were found on the 
other side of the river. Dr. Dyer was on the loco- 
motive, near the engineer. After going about three- 
fourths of a mile thev came to a curve in the road, 
where the river, now swollen to a raging flood, had, 
during the preceding hour, completely swept out the 
foundation of the road, but the rails appeared to be 
undisturbed. As soon as the locomotive came upon 
this spot, both it and the tender went down, instantly, 
into the fearful chasm, a distance of some thirty or 
forty feet. Most of those on the tender jumped off, 
and thus saved themselves. All on the locomotive 
were carried down into the raging waters. Several 
were killed instantly. Dr. Dyer was carried down 
with the others ; but, extricating himself from the loco- 
motive, he was swept away by the current, and being 
a good swimmer, he succeeded at last in making a 
landing about three quarters of a mile down the river 
and was saved, though he was terribly bruised. He 
never recovered his usual health and strength after 
this accident. The shock to his nervous system was 
too great to pass permanently away. 

As early as 1865 Dr. Dyer was appointed a member 


of the Foreign Co^j^ittee of the Board of Missions, 
which added very ^^^h to his labors. When the 
Board established commissions for work among the 
freedmen of the South a^^d the Indians in our Western 
States and Territories, he ^as placed upon the execu- 
tive committees of each o± these bodies, and made 
chairman of that for the Indian Commission. This 
made it necessary for him to carry on an extensive 
correspondence, and to have frequent personal inter- 
course with the Secretary of the Interior, the Com- 
missioner of Indian Affairs, and other officials at 
Washington.. As the nomination of Indian agents 
for all the reservations assigned by the government 
to the Episcopal Church devolved upon his commit- 
tee. Dr. Dyer became painfully acquainted with the 
plans and schemes and wicked devices of politicians, 
great and small, in carrying out and accomplishing 
their personal and selfish ends in this branch of the 
public service. He often spoke of the conduct of 
men holding the highest political, and even moral, 
trusts with the severest disapprobation and disgust ; 
and very glad was he when, by a change in the policy 
of the government, as well as of the church, he was 
relieved of this most unpleasant service. 

In 1873 a meeting of the Evangelical Alliance took 
place in New York. As a member of one of the com- 
mittees, Dr. Dyer took a deep and active interest in the 
proceedings of this body. In the same year, what has 
been termed the " Cummins Movement," that is, the 
secession of one Bishop and several of the clergy from 


the Episcopal Church, took place. While Dr. Dyer 
sympathized with some of the difficulties under 
which these brethren labored, he did not think that 
secession was the best way of curing the evils com- 
plained of. The whole country had had a notable 
illustration of the difficulties and dangers of secession, 
and he did not think such an experiment should be 
tried in the church. He took strong ground in favor 
of fighting the battle out within the church, feeling 
very sure that in the end all needed relief would be 
obtained, and that thus, even the appearance of schism 
would be avoided. 

About the same time the movement in England, 
and in this country, took place with regard to Bible 
revision. Dr. Dyer took a lively interest in this 
undertaking, and served on the American Finance 
Committee for many years. In 1875 he was appointed 
to accompany Bishop Lee, of Delaware, in his visit to 
Mexico to inquire into the present condition and 
future promise of the evangelistic work there going 
on under the administration of the Rev. Henry C. 
Riley, D.D. In this expedition he was accompanied 
by his wife and daughter, and other friends. About 
two months were thus occupied. 

At the General Convention of 1877, the old Board 
of Missions, consisting of several hundred members, 
was abolished, and in its place a Board of Managers, 
consisting, exclusive of the Bishops, of fifteen clergy- 
men and fifteen laymen, was created. To this Board 
the conduct of our general church missionary work, 


at home, and in foreign countries, was committed. Dr. 
Dyer was appointed by the Convention a member of 
this Board, and was assigned for duty in the Foreign 

In 1879 he was elected by the Convention of the 
Diocese of New York as a trustee of the General 
Theological Seminary. This was a great surprise to 
him, and many of his friends. So pronounced had 
been his views, particularly as to the former adminis- 
tration of the institution, that it seemed incredible 
the Convention of New York should elect hiin to 
such a post. Some of his friends criticised rather 
severely his acceptance of this position. But his reply 
was that, having had no knowledge of, or anything to 
do with the election, he felt it was his duty to avail 
himself of the opportunity of doing what he could to 
make the Seminary what it should be — general in the 
spirit of its administration, as well as in its name. 
Soon after his election he was made a member of the 
Standing Committee, and was appointed on two special 
committees having charge of a revision of the statutes, 
as well as the constitution of the institution. To the 
work of these committees he gave much attention, and 
had the satisfaction of seeing their recommendations 
adopted first by the Standing Committee, then by the 
Board of Trustees, and finally by the General Conven- 
tion in 1883. The character of some of the changes 
made will be understood from the fact that the old 
Board consisted of several hundred members, and 
from all the dioceses, and was a constantly increasing 


body, as the cliurch grew. The new Board, exchisive 
of the bishops, consists of fifty members, of which 
twenty-five are to be appointed by certain dioceses to 
represent certain pecuniary endowments, and twenty- 
five are to be appointed triennially by the General 
Convention. Of this latter numl)er Dr. Dyer was 
appointed a member by the General Convention of 
1883, his name standing first on the list. 

His only motive in accepting this trust, as well as 
some others which had been committed to him, was to 
recognize the great change which had taken place in 
the general spirit and tone of the different parties in 
the church, and to give expression to that catholicity 
for which he had labored so long and so earnestly. 
While his views of church polity remained substan- 
tially the same as they had been throughout his life, 
he thought it the part of wisdom and of a true liber- 
ality, to adapt the policy of the church to the altered 
state of sentiment and feeling which so generally pre- 
vailed. Some there were who considered his course 
somewhat inconsistent, but he regarded it as entirely 
consistent with the principles he had always advocated, 
and as the only honest and honorable course to pursue. 

During Dr. Dyer's life in New York he performed 
a large amount of clerical and other duty, outside of 
the societies with which he was more especially con- 
nected. Soon after his removal to the city he was 
asked to take charge of the Church of the Incarna- 
tion, which for a time had been a chapel of Grace 
Church. The rector of the new parish, Dr, Harwood, 


was obliged to leave his charge, and the city, on 
account of illness. Dr. Dyer supplied the pulpit for 
several months, including the Lenten and Easter sea- 
son. During this time, he prepared and presented to 
the Bishop quite a large class for confirmation. Im- 
mediately upon the close of his services at the Incar- 
nation, he was elected an assistant minister by the 
vestry of St. George's Church. In this relation he 
continued for five years. While the rector, the Rev. 
Dr. Tyng, was absent in Europe, he occupied the pul- 
pit for six months, and performed more or less paro- 
chial duty. On several different occasions he had 
charge of the pulpits at St. Mark's, the Ascension, the 
Nativity, Calvary, Mediator, the Anthon Memorial; 
and also of St. Ann's and Christ Church, Brooklyn ; 
Trinity Church, Newark ; and Trinity, of Bergen 
Point, IST. J. In this last-named parish he performed 
many services during the period of its organization, 
and on many occasions afterwards. At many differ- 
ent times he was put in charge of Christ Cliurch, Bay 
Ridge. During the absence of the rector, the Rev. 
Mr. Aspinwall, in Europe, he, with his family, occu- 
pied the rectory, and he had entire charge of the 
parish, for more than a year. In all of the afore- 
named churches he rendered services for from three 
to nine months each. For more than a year he held 
morning and afternoon services, and established a 
Sunday-school in the chapel of the Rutgers Institute 
on Fifth Avenue, near Forty-second street. 

It was during the period of these services, that he 


organized the Church of the Holy Trinity. On the 
evenings of the Sundays, he officiated at the chapel of 
the Rutgers Institute, he preached regularly in a 
hall in West Forty-second street, at a mission started 
by the Church of the Ascension. Among the labor- 
ers at the time in the mission, were Bishop Whittaker, 
of Nevada, and his wife. This mission grew into what 
became known as the "Memorial Chapel," with its 
chapel building and its settled pastors. He also per- 
formed many services at another mission of the 
Church of the Ascension, afterwards called the 
Chapel of the Comforter. He had charge, at diifer- 
ent times, of the services at the Church of the Medi- 
ator, the building for which, on Lexington Avenue, 
was purchased by his friends, Mr. Wolfe and Mrs. 

Dr. Dyer rendered occasional services in many other 
churches, chapels, and missions. As a rule, he offici- 
ated from two to three times on Sundays, and very 
frequently during the week. 

Dr. Dyer was an active friend and worker in behalf 
of St. Luke's Hospital from its commencement. He 
was for many years on its Board of Management, and 
was elected the president of the corporation, but 
declined to accept the office, thinking it ought to be 
held by a layman. He was also much interested in, 
and cooperated with his revered friend, Dr. Muhlen- 
berg, in establishing St. Johnland. He gave much 
time and labor, in organizing '' The Home for Incur- 
ables." For these three last-named institutions he 


was instrumental in raising a large amount of 

In 1872 or '73 he became a member of the Clerical 
Club, of which the Rev. Dr. E. A. Washburn was the 
chief originator. One of the outgrowths of the club 
was the Church Congress. Dr. Dyer was active in 
promoting the interests of both of tliese associations. 
For a lonor time he acted as chairman of the club, and 
presided at the breakfast given to Dean Stanley, during 
his visit to this country. He was for a long period 
the chairman of the Executive Committee of the 
Congress, and its meetings were held at his office in 
the Bible House. The interest he had in these asso- 
ciations arose largely from the conviction he had that 
their influence would be in the line of a broader and 
deeper and, consequently, truer catholicity through- 
out our church. 

During Dr. Dyer's life in New York he was instru- 
mental in raising large amounts of money for specific 
oljjects — objects outside of missionary and other 
causes, for which collections are taken in churches, or 
by any other systematic methods. From the books of 
record which he was in the habit of keeping, it would 
appear that more than $500,000 were received, and dis- 
bursed by him, for charitable purposes. The kind of 
reputation which he thus acquired, gave him not a little 
labor and trouble, and sometimes annoyance. 

It will be seen, from the foregoing, that Dr. Dyer 
has led an exceedingly busy and laborious life, and 
that he has been associated with many leading eharac- 


ters, and connected with many societies, both local 
and general. 

Several of the East Greenwich and North Kings- 
town branches of the Dyer family left Rhode Island 
and went to Vermont. The fame of that beautiful 
mountain region had spread all over New England, in 
the latter part of the last, and early part of the pres- 
ent century, causing a large emigration from tlie 
different States. 

The following sketches are of other descendants of 
William and Mary Dyre : 


A Sketch of His Long and Useful Career, Which is Closely Inter- 
woven with the Early History of Chicago. 

One more of the historic men who helped to make 
Chicago, passed away April 24, 1878, in the death of 
the venerable Dr. Charles Volney Dyer, one of the 
oldest and best known pioneers of the city, who died of 
paralysis at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. Adolph 
Heile (Mr. Heile married a daughter hy adoption)^ in 
the town of Lake View. He was born at Clarendon, 
Vt., on the 12th of June, 1808, and was, therefore, 
rounding up the full measure of his three score and 
ten, at his demise. His father, Daniel Dyer, was one 
of those sturdy old Green Mountain men, who did 
right gallant service in the days of the Revolution. 
His mother was Susan, daughter of Gideon and sister 


of Judge Abraham Olin, a woman of some note in her 
time, and whose character may be judged from the 
fact that she rode on horseback, unattended, a distance 
of over a thousand miles to collect silverware and 
gold beads from her friends for the purpose of secur- 
ing the then enormous bail of $15,000 for the release 
of one Matthew Lyon, of Kutland, incarcerated for 
violation of the notorious sedition law. 

For the first fifteen years of his life, the subject of 
this sketch lived on his father's farm at home, passing 
the uneventful days of a farmer boy, at work in 
summer, and at the district school in winter. At 
this age, however, he went to the Castleton (Vt.) 
Academy, where he fitted for the higher course of 
study which he subsequently pursued. He entered 
college at Middlebury, from which he was graduated 
with honors, in the medical course, in 1830. 

He began the practice of medicine at Newark, 
N. J., where he achieved enough local success to make 
him ambitious for a broader field in which to try his 
talents and exercise his industry. Like other aspiring 
young men of his time, he cast longing eyes toward 
the new West, and finally resolved to take the trip 
and trust his fortunes with the destinies of Chicago, 
where he arrived in August, 1835, He married Miss 
Louisa M. Gifford, of Elgin, in 1837, a lady who 
proved to be a woman of most sterling character, and 
whose long life of usefulnesss has but recently closed 
in death. The couple were blessed with six children, 
three of whom survive — a daughter, wife of Mr., S, 


E. Loring, and two sons, Charles, an artist, now in 
Italy, and Louis, a professor in the Chicago Univer- 

Dr. Dyer, upon his arrival, was appointed surgeon 
of old Fort Dearborn, and from that tinne his practice 
grew to such an extent, that in the course of a short 
time he had means to invest. With the infinite faith in 
the future that has characterized Chicago's pioneers, 
he purcliased a large amount of real estate then out- 
side of the corporation. Among other spots, once his 
property, is the lot now occupied by the " First National 
Bank Building." which he sold to the government for 
the old post-office, for the sum of $46,000. 

In 1854 he had acquired a competence, and retired 
from the practice of his profession, determined to pass 
the remainder of his life quietly, in the care of his 
considerable property. 

Dr. Dyer was a Democrat when he first came to 
Chicago, and was elected by the Legislature to the 
office of Judoje of the Probate Court of Cook count v, 
in 1837. He soon after became a leading Abolitionist, 
and supported Birney for President in 1840. There 
were then very few Liberty party men, as they were 
called, in Illinois ; but they had an " underground 
railroad," and many of the passengers called upon Dr. 
Dver and the late James H. Collins, who were under- 
stood to be the proprietors, in passing through from 
the South to the land of freedom, in Canada. While 
these men stopped with the Doctor, he tried to make 
them useful by setting them to work ; but he said 


they were more fond of preaching, than cutting and 
splitting wood. Dr. Dyer used to carry a large ebony, 
gold-headed cane, now in the collection of the Chicago 
Historical Society, which was presented to him by his 
admirers, as it was said, for enlightening a slave- 
catcher after the manner in which Minerva was freed 
from the skull of Jupiter. The Doctor was very 
proud of this token, which he regarded as Jacob's staff 
for freedom. About the time he received this present, 
say in 1846, a runaway slave was arrested and taken 
before the late Justice Kercheval, a native of Ken- 
tucky, who had issued a warrant for his arrest, under 
the old fugitive slave law. Mr. Collins appeard for the 
defence and moved to quash the writ, which was done. 
While new papers were being prepared for the re- 
arrest of the slave, Dr. Dyer was left alone with the 
handcuffed slave for a moment. He struck off the 
irons and bade the man jump for dear life. In a 
moment the others returned and, on their inquiring 
for the slave. Dr. Dyer said : " He has sunk into the 
bosom of the community." At an anti-slavery con- 
vention, held in Chicago, it was resolved to start an 
abolition paper in Washington. Dr. Dyer was made 
chairman of the committee, and selected Bailey as 
editor, with Whittier and Phelps as assistants. This 
was the beginning of the National Era. 

In 1863 President Lincoln appointed him Judge of 
the Mixed Court for the Suppression of the African 
Slave Trade, an international tribunal, holding its ses- 
sions in Sierra Leone. In consequence of this very 


appropriate honor, he spent two years abroad, when 
not in Africa, traveling quietly with his family in 
Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. He chanced to be 
in Rome when the sad news of the death of Lincoln 
fell upon the world, and he was chosen to make an 
address in memory of his dead friend. In religions 
belief the Doctor was a follower of Swedenbor<r, hav- 
ing embraced the tenets of the Scandinavian philoso- 
pher in 1854. Soon after this, he and his wife, in connec- 
tion with the Hon. and Mrs. J. Y, Scammon and Mr. 
and Mrs. J. E. Wheelei-, founded the New Jerusalem 
Society of this city. The great fire of 1871, and the 
panic, greatly straitened Dr. Dyer's circumstances, and 
his ready pecuniary means were nearly exhausted at 
the time of his death. He was a very peculiar man, 
sui generis in the fullest sense of that expression. No 
one who has ever known him well, could ever forget him. 
He loved a joke so well that, if he had had a chance, 
like Hood, he would have made his pun even to his 
last breath. It is impossible to do his varied charac- 
ter justice within the limits of a brief notice like this, 
but he will always be remembered in the Northwest 
as one of those vigorous men who braved the perils 
of the old frontier to build an empire upon a wilder- 
ness, and who held the most profound political convic- 
tions, not for personal glory, but that he might fulfil 
the promise of American freedom, and raise a fallen 
race to the fold of humanity. 

Charles Gifford Dyer, son of Dr. Charles Volney 


Dyer, was born in Chicago in 1845. Educated at 
Lake Forest, until he entered the Naval Academy, then 
at Newport. Shortly before finishing his studies there, 
a strong inclination for painting, and the urgent desire 
of his family, led him to resign. He then pursued the 
study of art in Dresden and Munich, but at the end 
of two years abandoned it and returned to Chicago. 
After convincing himself that commerce was not his 
vocation, by five years of repugnant labor, he again 
devoted himself to the study of painting with such 
persistency as his health, now greatly impaired by the 
hardships and disgusts of his commercial venture, al- 
lowed. To restore his health, he was obliged to travel 
extensively in Italy, Egypt, and the East. Much of 
his work in his profession was done at Munich, in 
1876. He finally abandoned Munich for a time, and 
studied to great advantage in the atelier of Jaquesson 
de la Chevreuse at Paris. In the course of his study, 
Venice and its great monuments attracted him, and 
the best known work which he has done is to be found 
in America, and connects itself with St. Mark's, Yen- 
ice. A picture by him, entitled " A German Student," 
attracted much attention in the Royal Academy at 
London, and at Munich, where he now has his atelier. 
His works are scattered among private collections in 
England and America. 

Louis Dyer, son of Dr. Charles Yolney Dyer, was 
born in Chicago in 1851. Educated in Chicago — at 
the Chateau de Lancy, near Geneva, Switzerland — at 


St. Amaud-Montroud (Cher) France — at the Univer- 
sity of Munich, and finally graduated from Harvard 
in 1874. After leaving Harvard L.D. he matriculat- 
ed at Balliol College, Oxford, England, where he took 
his degree in July, 1878, and was for one year Taylor- 
ian scholar. In September of the same year, lie was 
appointed tutor in Greek, by the corporation of Har- 
vard College, Mass., and at the expiration of the term 
of this appointment he was in 1881 appointed assist- 
ant professor of Latin and Greek, at Harvard College, 
where he now teaches. Professor Dyer not only 
takes high rank as a scholar, but is also a poet and a 
man of many accomplishments. 

Olin Gideon Dyer, M.D., the youngest son of Gideon 
Dyer, was born in Clarendon, Yt,, December 5th, 
1822. From force of circumstances, he was unable to 
pursue a classical course of study, but nevertheless he 
succeeded in obtaining a good common school educa- 
tion. At an early age, becoming interested in the 
subject of medicine, he commenced to study under the 
guidance and tuition of the late Dr. Moses H. Ranney, 
who afterwards became distinguished in New York as 
a specialist in mental disease, and graduated at the 
Castleton Medical College — then one of the most 
flourishing medical institutions of the day — with the 
highest honors in June, 1844. He commenced the 
practice of his profession during the succeeding year 
in Lexington, Ohio, where he remained but one year, 
when he returned to Yermont. Li August, 1846, he 


married Annah Gaines Holt, of Pittsfield, and imme- 
diately located in Salisbury, where he remained in 
active practice for five years. At the expiration of this 
time, to wit, September, 1851, at the earnest solicitation 
of the late Dr. A. G. Dana, he removed to Brandon, 
Yt., to become his associate in practice. Owing how- 
ever to the ill health of Dr. Dana, the partnersliip 
terminated in two years, by his voluntary withdrawal, 
since which time, Dr. Dyer has occupied the field 
against all competitors, with signal ability and success, 
until the present time. 

At the close of the war he received the unsolicit- 
ed appointment of examining surgeon for pensions, 
which ofiice he still holds. As a man. Dr. Dyer is held 
in the highest esteem and is above reproach, while, as 
a physician, he possesses in a rare degree that intuitive 
knowledge of disease which has rendered him so re- 
markably skilful and successful that he is regarded, 
by all, as the leading medical man in Brandon and 

The Eev. Palmer Dyer, an estimable Episcopal 
clergyman, was a son of Edward Dyer, of Rutland, Yt., 
and was born October 24th, 1798. He graduated at 
Union College in 1820, studied theology, and was ordain- 
ed deacon by Bishop Brownell, of Connecticut. His 
useful life came to an untimely end by drowning in 
the Ausable River, August 1st, 1844, while he was en- 
deavoring to save the life of a lady, who had slipped 


on a narrow bridge, and was in great danger. She was 
saved, and her noble rescuer perished.*^ 

There are many descendants of Charles Dyre, the 
youngest son of William and Mary Dyre, living in 
various parts of Rhode Isand, He had two daughters 
and five sons : Mary, Eliza, Samuel, John, William, 
Thomas, and Charles. He died in 1727. The follow- 
ing sketches are of some of his descendants : 

Benjamin Dyer, M.D., was born in Cranston, Rhode 
Island, July 8th, 1768. His father was the son of 
Charles Dyer, Jr., who married Abigail Williams, 
daughter of Thomas Williams and great-granddaughter 
of Roger Williams. Charles Dyer, 1st, of Providence 
came from Dartmouth, Bristol county, Massachusetts, 
and purchased the farm now known as " Cabbage Neck," 
Cranston, his deed being dated July 25, 1712. He 
married Mary Lapham, and they had seven children. 
The subject of this sketch received such education as 
the schools of his day afforded, and at an early age en- 
tered upon the study of medicine, under the direction 
of Nathan Truman, who was then one of the prominent 
physicians of Providence. Dr. Dyer engaged suc- 
cessfully in the practice of medicine, and became as- 
sociated with his brother, Charles Dyer, in the drug 
business, in Providence, in whicb he continued until 
his death. He pursued his profession with great assi- 
duity for a period of twenty years, and then relinquished 
his professional business, in order to devote his time to 
mercantile and manufacturing pursuits, and to the im- 

^ YD. . fP. / ' , 


provement of the extensive landed property belonging 
to himself, and the firm of which he was a partner. 
His apothecary business rapidly increased, and the firm 
became large dealers in chemicals and dyestuffs, from 
the sale of which a handsome fortune was realized. In 
1816, in company with his brother Charles, Benjamin 
Hoppin, Stephen Waterman and others, he became 
interested in the purchase and improvement of lands 
on the west side of the river, which then belonged to 
the Field estate. They filled in and laid out Dyer, 
Dorrance, Eddy and other streets in that vicinity, and 
built wharves and store-houses, investing immense sums 
of money in the enterprise, with great advantage to 
the city, and serious loss to themselves. Dr. Dyer was 
also one of the originators of the Providence Dye- 
ing, Bleaching and Calendering Company and of the 
Phoenix Iron Foundry. In 1824 he built the Dyer 
block, on Broad street. He also built the steam-mill 
on Eddy Street, now owned by Amos D. Smith & 
Co. He owned a large tract of land In Cranston, 
now Elmwood, between Broad and Greenwich streets, 
where he had a fine country residence for a summer 
home, and where he was interested in various agricult- 
ural enterprises. At one time he devoted considera- 
ble attention to the raising of currants for the manu- 
facture of wine, and also to silk growing on his own 
premises Some of his friends still remember seeing 
him at an agricultural fair, dressed in a beautiful suit 
of silk made from products of his own culture. His 
energy and enterprising spirit, gave vigor and promised 


success to every undertaking, and the deep interest 
which he continually manifested in the public welfare, 
caused him to be regarded as one of the most useful 
citizens of his day. As a physician he was skilful and 
devoted to his profession. He often sacrificed time, 
money, and professional services for tlie relief of the 
suffering poor. As an instance of his benevolence, it 
is said that, during his professional career, he was 
attending a poor woman who was dangerously ill with 
typhoid fever, and seeing that she could not recover if 
she remained in the unwholesome district where she 
lived, he removed her to his own house, and cared for 
her until her health was restored. He was noted for 
his sociability, hospitality, and benevolence. Dr. Dyer 
was always one of the first to promote all practical 
charities and public institutions for good. Being of 
modest and very retiring disposition, he never accepted 
oflicial positions. He was a member of a sect known 
as Sandemanians, of which it is said there is but one 
society in this country, at Danbury, Connecticut. 
The few members of the society in Providence met 
with him and his family at his house, and he conducted 
the religious services. At his death, which occurred 
May 15, 1831, his family became members of the 
Beneficent Congregational Church. 

Hon. Elisha Dyer, ex-Governor of Rhode Island, 

son of Elisha and Frances (Jones) Dyer, was born in 

Providence, Rhode Island, July 20, 1811. He is a 

lineal descendant of William and Mary Dyre. Their 



grandson, John, married Freelove "Williams, a great- 
granddaughter of Roger "Williams, and John Dyer's 
son, Anthony, was the grandfather of the subject of 
this sketch. Governor Dyer's mother was a daughter 
of Esther Jones, a great-granddaughter of Mary Ber- 
non, who was a daughter of Gabriel Bernon, a Hugue- 
not, and a refugee from La Rochelle, France. Gabriel 
Bernon was a merchant of an ancient and honorable 
family of Rochelle, where he was born April 6, 1644. 
Governor Dyer enjoyed superior educational advan- 
tages. He received early and careful training in pri- 
vate schools in Providence, spent a short time at 
Benjamin Greene's boarding-school, at Black Hill, in 
Plainfield, Connecticut, and was prepared for college 
in Roswell C. Smith's school, in Providence, from 
which he entered Brown University, September 7, 
1825, at the age of fourteen. He gradated from that 
institution September 2, 1829, and September 1st of 
the same year entered the store of Elisha Dyer & Co., 
commission merchants. No. 5 West "Water street, 
Providence, where he served in a clerical capacity 
until April 1, 1831, when, Mr. Cary Dunn having re- 
tired from the firm to engage in business in New 
York, young Dyer became the junior partner. On 
the 8th of October, 1838, he married Anna Jones 
Hoppin, daughter of Thomas C. Hoppin, Esq. By 
this marriage there were seven children, four of whom 
— Elisha, Anna Jones, Gabriel Bernon, and William 
Jones — are now living. In early life Governor Dyer 
became identified with various public interests, and 


has always taken an active part in promoting useful 
enterprises and social reforms. On the 23d of Sep- 
tember, 1833, he was tendered the appointment of 
vice-consul of the two Sicilies, which honor he de- 
clined. About this time he became a strong temper- 
ance man, and by earnest persuasion prevailed on his 
father to give up the sale of intoxicating liquors, then 
a large and profitable part of their business, which 
course, as was expected, proved very damaging to 
their trade. This incident illustrates a strono; charac- 
teristic of Governor Dyers life. He is a man of high 
moral principle, and has always been true to his con- 
victions. On the 30th of September, 1835, he became 
a member of the Rhode Island Society for the En- 
couragement of Domestic Industry, of which he sub- 
sequently served as secretary, member of the Auditing 
Committee, and president, and from 1859 to 1878 was 
an honorary member, and a member of the Standing 
Committee. Perhaps no one has done more for the 
success of this society than Governor Dyer. He 
worked earnestly, both at home and abroad, to pro- 
mote its usefulness. He visited agricultural colleges 
in Europe, and obtained valuable statistics and infor- 
mation for the society in this country, while travelling 
for his health. In 1835 his father built the Dyerville 
Mill, in North Providence, and established the Dyer- 
ville Manufacturing Company, for the manufacture 
of cotton cloth. Mr. Dyer became the agent of this 
company, in which position he served until the death 
of his father, in 1854, when he became the sole owner 


of the property, and continued the business until 1867, 
when, on account of failing health, being obliged to 
retire from business, he sold the mill. During his 
business career, he was prominently identified with 
many of the commercial interests of the city. For 
many years he was a member and director of the 
Providence Athenaeum, a director of the Providence 
Young Men's Bible Society, of which he was president 
in 1843, and was a member of the Providence Dis- 
pensary, being among the most generous in caring for 
the poor and unfortunate. He became a member of 
the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1837, and was 
one of the Board of Trustees, from September 10, 
1845, until the abolishment of the same in 1848. In 
politics Governor Dyer was formerly an old line 
Whig, and has been identified with the Republican 
party since its organization. He was a delegate to the 
"Whig Convention at South Kingstown, Rhode Island, 
October 31, 1839, and secretary of the same; and a 
delegate to the Whig Jubilee and Festival at Niblo's, 
Kew York, in November, 1839. He was chairman 
and first vice-president of the Young Men's Whig 
Convention at Providence, April 2, 1840, He was a 
delegate to the Young Men's Whig Convention at 
Baltimore, May 3, 1840, of which he was chairman, 
and at that time addressed ten thousand people in 
Monument Square, Baltimore. On the 27th of June, 
1840, he was elected Adjutant-General of Rhode 
Island, and re-elected for five successive years, in 
which capacity he rendered very efficient service, being 


on active duty under Governor Samuel W. King, con- 
stantly, from April 3d to July 21st, 1842, liaving 
almost entire charge of the plans and movements of 
the State government during the '' Dorr War." He 
served as a member of the Providence School Com- 
mittee, from January 3, 1843, to June 6, 1854, when 
he resigned. In 1851 he was nominated for Mayor 
of Providence by the Temperance party, and defeated 
by a small majority. 

On the 4th of April, 1853, he was nominated for 
State Senator, but not elected. He was president of 
the Exchange Bank of Providence at the time it be- 
came a national bank, and served as a director of the 
same from 1837 to 1879 ; was elected a director of the 
Union Bank of Providence, September 2, 1845. and 
became a director of the Providence and Washington 
Insurance Company in January, 1850, but soon after- 
ward resigned. He was second vice-president of the 
Rhode Island Art Association in 1853. In 1854 he 
became an annual member of the United States Agri- 
cultural Society, and in 1857 a life member and vice- 
president of the same. He was also a member of the 
Windham County (Connecticut) Agricultural Society. 
In August, 1855, he became a member of the Ameri- 
can Association of Arts and Sciences. He was a 
member of the Butler Hospital Corporation, and trus- 
tee of the same from January 23, 185G, to June 5, 
1857, when he resigned ; was vice-president of the 
Lake Erie Monument Association ; president of the 
Young Men's Christian Association from May 12, 


1857, to April 12, 1858 ; honorary member of Frank- 
lin Lyceum in 1858, and of the Providence Association 
of Mechanics and Manufacturers in 1860. On the 10th 
of March, 1853, he was a delegate to the Whig State 
Convention, and secretary of the same, and at the same 
time was chairman of the Eastern District Convention. 
In 1857 he was elected Governor of Rhode Island, 
and re-elected in 1858, and declined in favor of Hon. 
Thomas G. Turner, in May, 1859. Concerning his 
administration as Governor, the Providence Post^ a 
leading Democratic paper, which was opposed to him, 
thus referred to him on the 7th of March, 1859 : " It 
is proper to say that his retirement is wholly volun- 
tary. It is not often that men thus voluntarily decline 
an honorable office, and especially when the office may 
be used as a stepping-stone to others of still greater 
value and importance. . . . We have from the first 
looked upon him as an honorable, high-minded oppo- 
nent, and a straightforward, conscientious man ; and 
candor compels us to say, that he has never failed to 
reach the standard we set up for him. His abilities 
have been equal to his official duties, and his integrity 
has been equal, so far as we know or suspect, to every 
assault which the intrigues of professed friends have 
made upon it. He retires from an office which he did 
not seek, wholly unscathed, and wholly uncontaminated 
with the slime which too often clings to men who dis- 
pense official favors." Governor Dyer was made a 
director of Swan Point Cemetery, February 7, 1860. 
He was one of the founders of the Providence Aid 


Society, and was one of its board of managers from 
November 16, 1855, to October 1, 1859. On the 8tli 
of November, 1849, he was elected an honorary mem- 
ber of the Rhode Island Horticultural Society, and one 
of the Committee on Finance, in 1854. Governor 
Dyer has taken a prominent part in military matters. 
He joined the First Light Infantry Company, of Prov- 
idence, in 1838, was made an honorary member of 
the Newport Artillery Company in 1858, and an 
honorary member of the Providence Marine Corps of 
Artillery in 1859. During the civil war, he exhibited 
in various ways his patriotic devotion to the cause of 
liis country. On the 25th of September, 1861, he was 
chosen captain of the Tenth Ward Drill Company, of 
Providence, and May 26, 1862, his son Elisha having 
been disabled and prevented from continuing in the 
service, Governor Dyer felt it his duty to volunteer 
himself, and accordingly went to Washington, and 
served for three months as captain of Company B, 
Tenth regiment of Kliode Island Volunteers. This 
company was composed of about one hundred and 
twenty-five students from Brown University and the 
Providence Hidi School. President Sears, of the 
University, allowed his students to enlist only on 
condition that Governor Dyer should go with them. 
He was a director of the Providence and Springfield 
Railroad, and has been among the first in projecting 
and promoting various railroad enterprises in the 
State. He was the originator of the Providence and 
Springfield Railroad, known at first as the Woonas- 


quatucket Railroad, and was one of the first movers 
in the proposed Ponagansett Railroad. He drew the 
charter of the Narragansett Yalle}^ Railroad, and was 
one of its corporators. In 1851, he was a director of the 
Rhode Island Steamboat Company. The same year 
he served on a committee sent to Washington to 
secure the removal of the Providence post-oflfice. In 
1852, he was elected a trustee of the Firemen's Asso- 
ciation, Gaspe Company, No. 9. He was at one time 
one of the directors of the Rhode Island Sportsman's 
Club. In 1863, he was a delegate from the Rhode 
Island Society for the Encouragement of Domestic 
Industry, to the International Agricultural Exhibition 
at Hamburg, in July of that year, and made an able 
report of the same. He was vice-president of the 
Rocer Williams Monument Association, and chairman 
of the Executive Committee. On the 24th of Sep- 
tember, 1869, he was elected president of the First 
National Musical Congress, in Music Hall, Boston, 
because of his musical ability, and his extensive ac- 
quaintance in musical circles. He was Commissioner 
for Rhode Island to the International Exhibition in 
London, in May, 1871, and made a valuable report of 
the same to the General Assembly. On the 20th of 
March, 1873, he was appointed Honorary Commis- 
sioner to the Vienna Exposition by President Grant, 
and while there, rendered very important service to 
the Commission, by reason of his large and varied 
experience, and excellent taste and judgment. His 
patriotic zeal led him to over-exert himself at the 


Exposition, so mncli to the injury of his healtli, that 
since then, he has been obliged to retire altogether 
from public life and from business. He is a member 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church, being, with his 
family, connected with Grace Church, Providence, 
On the 8th of June, 1852, he was a delegate to the 
Diocesan Convention. Notwithstanding his active 
business and public career, Governor Dyer has been 
an invalid for the last thirty years, and very much of 
his work has been done under the burden of infirmitv 
and suffering. Eighteen times he has crossed the 
Atlantic in search of health, and in 1854 visited 
Egypt. He has been in all the places of note on the 
usual routes of European travel, and, though travelling 
for health, always had his eyes open and note-book in 
hand, to glean whatever of value or interest he could 
preserve for others. He is an effective speaker, and 
has made a large number of public addresses on politi- 
cal, educational, musical, and miscellaneous subjects. 
In tlie Rhode Island Schoolmaster^ of November, 
1861, he published a charming sketch of his school-day 
experiences at "Black Hill," and in 1864, published 
a book, entitled " A Summer's Travel to Find a Ger- 
man Home." Governor Dyer is a man who might 
have succeeded in almost any chosen line of work that 
he had selected. 

Colonel Elisha Dyer, Jr., chemist, son of Hon. 
Elisha and Anna Jones (Hoppin) Dyer, was born in 
Providence, Rhode Island, November 29, 1839. After 


attending the public schools of the city, and the school 
of Lyon and Frieze, he entered Brown University in 
1856, taking a partial course. In 1858 he went to 
Germany, and entered the University of Giessen, 
where he graduated August 20, 1860, taking the de- 
gree of Doctor of Philosophy, having pursued his 
studies part of the time at Freiberg, in Saxony. He 
returned home in the autumn of 1860, and at the com- 
mencement of the civil war started for Washington, 
D. C, April 18, 1861, as fourth sergeant of Captain 
Tompkins's Battery of Rhode Island Light Artillery, 
being one of the first volunteers enlisted in the 
State, in response to the call for three months 
men. While in charge of unloading the battery at 
Easton, Pennsylvania, he received an injury which 
nearly disabled him, and, persisting in continuing 
with his company, was overcome by the heat a few 
days later, and sent home by order of the surgeon. 
He has never fully recovered from the shock and 
exposure which he then experienced. In 1862 he was 
re-elected lieutenant of the Marine Artillery, one of 
the oldest and finest military organizations in the State, 
having held a position on its stafi before his enlistment 
for the war. In May of the same year the battery 
again enlisted for three months, but lieutenant Dyer, 
who had volunteered, was rejected from service by 
the surgeon, on the ground of his previous disability. 
Governor Sprague at once appointed him major, and, 
with Lieutenant-Colonel George H. Smith, detailed 
him to recruit and drill men for the battery, which he 


continued to do for tlie remainder of tlie year. The 
following year Grovernor James Y. Smith appointed 
him colonel on his staff, in which position he served 
for three years. In 1867, the Marine Artillery Com- 
pany was reorganized, and Colonel Dyer entered its 
ranks as corporal. In 1869 he was elected lieutenant- 
colonel commanding the company, which office he 
resigned after two years, and one year thereafter was 
again made commander for another term of two years. 
In 1875, under the new militia law, all the artillery of 
the State was consolidated, and Colonel Dver was 
elected to the command of the battalion. At the 
same time, he was appointed a member of the Board 
of Examiners of Officers of the State Militia, which 
position he held until 1878. In 1877 he was elected 
to the State Senate from North Kingstown, and during 
his term of service was a member of the Judiciary 
Committee, and chairman of the Committee on Militia. 
In 1878 he was appointed, by a convention of militia 
officers, one of the commission to report a new militia 
law to the General Assembl3\ He M'as appointed by 
Governor Van Zandt, and served as a member of the 
Joint Select Committee on the reception of President 
Hayes and cabinet, in 1877. He was also appointed 
for five years a member of the State Board of Health, 
for Washington county, in 1878. In 1881 he was 
elected a Representative to the General Assembly, 
from the Fourth ward of Providence. He has been 
one of the directors of the Union Bank and of the 
Union Savings Bank of Providence since 1870. For 


several years he was one of the Finance Committee of 
the Rhode Island Society for the Encouragement of 
Domestic Industry. His chosen profession is that of 
a chemist, and lie has been engaged from time to time 
in various manufacturing interests, but of late years 
has been very busily occupied with the care and 
management of the estate of his father. He married 
November 26, 1861, Nancy Anthony, daughter of 
William and Mary B. (Anthony) Yiall, of Providence. 
They have three sons — Elisha, George R., and H. 
Anthony. Throughout his life Colonel Dyer has 
labored earnestly for the best interests of mankind, 
and enjoys the satisfaction of having done worthily 
whatever he has undertaken. 

[From the Manchester (England) Examiner and Times, May 9th, 



In our obituary on Saturday, we announced the 
death of one whose name, almost forgotten now, except 
as matter of history, was, a generation ago, known as 
one of the foremost in the ranks of the advanced Lib- 
eral party in Lancashire. Mr. Joseph Chessborough 
Dyer, of Burnage, who died at his son's residence at 
Henbury, near Macclesfield, on Wednesday last, was 
from 1816, when he settled in Manchester, till after 
the settlement of the corn-law question, one of the 
most prominent leaders of popular movements in the 
district, besides holding an important place in the 


scientific development of the cotton industry, which 
has elevated Lancashire into the foremost rank among 
English counties. Mr. Dyer's democratic leanings 
may be said to have been hereditary, for his father was 
a leader in the struggle for American independence, 
and is said to have been one of the signatories of the 
world-famous documents in which the rights of the 
colonists were declared and asserted. The subject of 
our sketch, however, was especially proud of his Eng- 
lish descent, and being born in 1780, tliree years be- 
fore the acknowledgment by England of the independ- 
ence of the United States^ although the place of his 
birth was Stonington, in Connecticut, he was able to 
claim that he was "born an Englishman." Upon this 
point, he was so interested that he obtained the opinion 
of counsel (Scarletts), which was distinctly in his favor. 
He received the usual education of his class; and on 
attaining manhood, established himself in Boston, as a 
merchant importing British goods, and in that capac- 
ity frequently visited England, in the early part of 
the century. In 1811, in consequence of the disturb- 
ances between the mother country and the States, 
Jefferson's non-intercourse act was passed, with the 
effect of ruining the American trade in English goods. 
Mr. Dyer, thereupon, removed at once to London. In 
1811, he married Miss Eliza Jones, daughter of Mr. 
Somersett Jones, of Gower street, London, and Brand 
House, Somersetshire, a nephew of Sir William Jones, 
the well known Indian scholar. After a brief resi- 
dence in Birmingham, where he projected the North 


American Review, and, along with Mr. Tudor, pre- 
pared the first three numbers of the magazine, he 
settled in Manchester, and in this town or its im- 
mediate neighborhood, he lived till 1864. For two 
years afterwards he lived with his son, Mr. F. N. 
Dyer, at Whaley Bridge, and since then, till the time 
of his death, at that gentleman's seat at Hen bury. Mr. 
Dyer, shortly after his settlement in Manchester, by the 
adaptation of several useful American inventions, gave a 
great impetus to the cotton trade, which was then rapidly 
developing in this district. Wheeler, in his " History of 
Manchester," after speaking of the inventions of the 
mule and throstle spinning, says : " Two other important 
inventions have yet to be named — the fly frame, intro- 
duced about 1817, which supersedes the roving frame 
for middle and lower numbers (of yarns) ; and the tube 
frame, which roves much faster than fly, but only for 
low numbers. Mr. Dyer, of this town, introduced 
them from America, and in 1825 and 1829 took out 
patents." So rapidly was the importance of these in- 
ventions recognized, that it is said that in a few years 
nearly 1,000 improved frames were in operation in the 
mills of the cotton district. Mr. Dyer was the founder 
of one of the largest firms of machinists in Manchester. 
Mr. Dyer was a director of the Bank of Manchester, 
in which he was a considerable shareholder. By its 
stoppage, during the joint-stock bank panic between 
1836 and 1842, he suffered severe pecuniary losses. 
Even while engaged in business pursuits, Mr. Dyer was 
an active politician ; but after his retirement, many of 


his best years were given up almost wholly to the ad- 
vancement of the political and social condition of the 
people. His public services embraced a very wide 
range. In 1824 he was one of the projectors of the 
Royal Institution of Manchester, and a liberal sub- 
scriber. He was, also, about the same time, one of 
the first to subscribe towards the formation of the 
Manchester Mechanics' Institute. He was a moving 
spirit in the counsels of those advanced Radicals, 
through whose action, chiefly, Manchester obtained the 
position of a borough, returning two members under 
the reform bill of 1832, and subsequently he was 
equally active in the movement for obtaining a charter 
of incorporation for the city. The prominent position 
which, at this time, Mr. Dyer held in Manchester poli- 
tics may be judged of from the fact that in 1830, along 
with Mr. Mark Phillips (subsequently one of the first 
members for Manchester) and Mr. Alexander Kay, he 
was nominated at a public meeting in the Town Hall, 
to bear the congratulations of the citizens to the people 
of Paris, on the success of the revolution of July. The 
Manchester delegates were received at the Hotel de 
Yille, and a public banquet was given in their honor. 
Mr. Dyer was chairman of the Manchester branch of 
the old Reform League, and took a leading part in all 
the agitations preceding the passage of the act of 1832. 
The influence which Mr. Dyer then obtained, was used 
to good purpose at the flrst election for the new-created 
borough. Mr. C. Poulett Thompson, who was nomi- 
nated along with Mr. Mark Philips as a Liberal candi- 


date, being unable, in consequence of his candidature 
for Dover, to attend personally to his canvass here, was 
represented by Mr. Dyer, who had the satisfaction of 
returning his candidate. Mr. Dyer was one of the 
first, and remained to the successful close of its labors, 
one of the leading members of the Anti-Corn-Law 
League. He also took an active part in most of the 
public measures which engaged attention from 1820 to 
1850. Shortly after the latter date, being now more 
than TO years old, he retired, almost entirely, from 
participation in public business, in which, however, he 
preserved till the last a keen interest. In 1818, Mr. 
Dyer was elected a member of the Manchester Liter- 
ary and Philosophical Society, of which he was for 
many years a vice-president. He contributed many 
papers, which occupy an honored place in its records, 
and is notable as the only member who was ever al- 
lowed to address the society on a semi-political ques- 
tion. This was in a paper written during the height 
of the corn-law agitation, to combat the notion, founded 
on Goldsmith's couplet, that the growth of large towns 
and the increase of wealth indicated the decay of the 
nation. As a pamphleteer, Mr. Dyer was, also, very 
prolific, and many of his papers on the political and 
social questions of his time were of more than passing 
value. We are informed that he has left behind him, 
in manuscript, a History of his Own Times, a treatise 
on health and longevity, and an autobiography extend- 
ing to the period of his marriage. The funeral took 
place on Saturday, and in accordance with Mr. Dyer's 


express desire, frequently reiterated during his last 
illness, was strictly private. His remains were interred 
in Rusholme Road Cemetery. 

In the year 1632, Thomas Dyer, and his wife, arrived 
in Boston, from Shepton Mallett, in Somersetshire, 
England. Thomas Dyer married Agnes Reed, wlio 
was born in Butley, two miles from the beautiful 
town of Glastonbury, in Somersetshire. Shepton 
Mallett is a large manufacturing town ; it carries on 
an extensive manufactory of knit stockings and woolen 
goods. These, with its market-cross, erected in 1500 — 
a curious structure, supported by columns and adorned 
with sculpture — are its principal attractions. Thomas 
Dyer was a cloth manufacturer; but whether he pur- 
sued that line of business in this country, I have not 
been able to ascertain. He settled in Weymouth, in 
Massachusetts. His wife died in 1667, leaving eight 
children, five sons and three daughters. He was made 
freeman in 1644 — was chosen Representative in 1646, 
— in 1650 was appointed deacon of the church. He 
died in 16Y6, leaving a " good estate." From him are 
descended very many of the name in this country, but it 
is not known that there was any relationship between 
him and William Dyre. Prominent among his de- 
scendants, is Colonel Eliphalet Dyer of Wyndham, 
Connecticut, who was the great-grandson of Thomas 
Dyer. He was born September 14th, 1721, and mar- 
ried Huldah Bowen, daughter of Colonel Jabez Bowen. 
of Providence, Rhode Island. He commenced the 


practice of law when nineteen years of age, and gradu- 
ated at Yale College in 1740, where in 1787 he was made 
LL.D. ; from 1745 to 1762 he was representative to 
the General Court. He commanded a Connecticut 
regiment during the French war — was elected a mem- 
ber of the council in 1762 and a delegate to the Stamp 
Act Congress in 1765 — went to England, in 1763, as 
agent of the Susquehanna Company, and was also a 
delegate to Congress in 1774, and, excepting 1779, held 
during the war, a seat in that body. He had much to 
do with framing the constitution of the United States. 
He was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in 
1765, and from 1789 to 1793 was chief justice. He died 
in May, 1807. His daughter Amelia married Colonel 
Joseph Trumbull, oldest son of Governor Trumbull. 
The following ludicrous story is often alluded to : 

" Rome had her geese and Pomfret her wolf, but 
Windham had her frogs. Here on the historic green, 
in sight of the pond where it occui-red, the episode of 
the frogs assumes a very different aspect from that 
given it by the Rev. Hugh Peters in his humorous 
' History of Connecticut.' It was on the night of June 
17, 1754, that the gruesome, grotesque circumstance 
occurred. The green was as fresh and vivid in coloring, 
the elms arched as gracefully, the stream from the 
pond broke over its barriers, and flowed away under 
the rustic bridge as murinuringly then, as now, but in 
the minds of the people there was sad foreboding, and 
expectation of the momentary outbreak of a savage foe. 
It was the eve of one of the bloodiest of the French 


and Indian wars. Windliam county had special 
reason for fearing vengeance, since, in acquiring some 
parts of her recent Susquehanna purchase, the Indians 
were known to have been aggrieved iind wronged. 
Goodman White's negro slave. Pomp, was the first to 
experience the terrors of the night. Having lingered 
until a late hour beside a dusky Pliyllis, in one of the 
outlying farmhouses, he at length started to return to the 
village, a Youdoo charm about his neck, and a horse- 
shoe in his hand, as a protection against spooks. Tlie 
night was still, misty, and intensely dark. Pomp 
went his way whistling, his fears equally divided be- 
tween the insubstantial ghost, and the more material 
Mohawk. He had reached the green, when all at once 
a dire uproar burst upon him. Koar, bellow, gabble, 
shriek, splash, gurgle were combined, and the sounds 
came from everywhere at once — above, below, on this- 
side and that, from field, and pond, and forest. To say 
that Pomp fled, and shrieked, and prayed, conveys no 
idea of the celerity of his flight, nor the intensity of his 
groans and supplications. But before he could reach 
the centre of the green, chamber windows were thrown 
open, nightcapped heads were thrust forth, and femi- 
nine shrieks, and the strong cries of men added to the 
uproar : many swooned ; the stronger fled as they were 
to the village green, where they huddled in a little 
group, every eye upturned to see through the murky 
gloom the glory of the opening heavens, and the awful 
visage of the descending Judge. In that company, not 
one but believed that the last great day was at hand. 


But the levin-stroke of judgment failed to come, and 
soon the thought came to the stronger minds, that the 
uproar was of terrestrial origin, and attributable to savage 
foes. Peering into the darkness, and shrinking from 
the possible deadl}^ tomahawk, they waited and 
watched. At length they heard, amid the general 
babel, distinct articulations which gradually resolved 
themselves into the names of two of Windham's most 
prominent citizens — Colonel Dyer, the agent, and 
Squire Elderkin, one of the trustees of the Susque- 
hanna Company. ' We'll have Colonel Dyer ! We'll 
have Colonel Dyer ! We'll have Colonel Dyer ! ' the 
mysterious voices declared ; and ' Elderkin too ! ' 
' Elderkin too ! ' ' Elderkin too ! ' an equally mysterious 
chorus repeated ; not a person but trembled for the 
fate of those two strong pillars of the commonwealth. 
The words ' Tete,' ' Tete,' which followed, were con- 
strued as meaning that the investing force was dis- 
posed to treat, but as nothing could be done in the 
darkness, the affrighted people contented themselves 
with placing a line of sentries around the town, and 
then withdrew to their homes. In the morning no 
savage army appeared, nor was any cause of the strange 
voices of the night discoverable, and the occurrence 
would, no doubt, have been added to the long list of 
supernatural events detailed in Cotton Mather's 
Wonder-Book, had not Pomp, watering his master's 
horses at the pond next morning, discovered multitudes 
of frogs lying dead, and blackened in the water. Then 
it came as a revelation to the people of Windham, that 


an army of frogs, smitten with some deadly epidemic, 
or, perhaps attacked by some invading army, had pro- 
duced the afiirighting sounds. The revulsion of feel- 
ing, it is said, was great ; the whole village assumed a 
sheepish air. Somehow, too, the story got abroad, and 
brought a ripple of laughter to the face of the whole 
county. Everybody was disposed to regard the ex- 
perience of that terrible night as a rich joke. Gibes, 
puns, lampoons, ditties, proverbs were rained on the 
unfortunate Windhamites. Even the clergymen poked 
fun, as the following letter from the Rev. Mr. Stiles, 
of Woodstock, to his nephew, abundantly shows. It 
is dated at Woodstock, July 9, 1754, and proceeds : 

'• ' If the late tragical tidings from Windham deserve 
credit, as doubtless they do, it will then concern the 
gentlemen of your Jurispritian order to be fortified 
against the croaks of Tauranean legions — legions terri- 
ble as the very wreck of matter and the crash of 
worlds. Antiquity relates that the elephant fears the 
mouse ; a herd trembles at the crowing of a cock ; but 
pray whence is it that the croaking of a bull-frog 
should so Belthazzarize a lawver ? How Dyerful the 
alarm made by these audacious long-winded croakers ! 
I hope, sir, from the Dyerful reports from the frog- 
pond you will gain some instruction, as well as from 
the reports of my Lord Coke.' " 

Even the aid of the Muses was invoked on this oc- 
casion, and a poem thirty verses long was written to 
describe the 

" Fright -which happen'd one night, 
Caused by the bull-frog nation." 


The following are two of the verses 

" Lawyer Lucifer called up his crew, — 
Dyer and Elderkin, you must come too; 
Old Col. Dyer, you know well enough, 
He had an old negro, his name was Cuflf. 

" 'Now, Massa,' says Cuflf, ' I'm now glad enough 
For what little comfort I have ; 
I make it, no doubt, my time is just out, 
No longer shall I be a slave.' " 

The five following articles are of interest to all 
bearing the name of Dyer. Much of the information 
contained in them is taken from Alexander Chalmers' 
Biographical Dictionary — London 1813. 

Sir James Dyer, Dier, or Dyre, an eminent Eng- 
lish lawyer, was descended from an ancient and hon- 
orable family in Somersetshire, of the same family 
with Sir Edward Dyer, the poet, who was fourth in 
descent from Sir James Dver's o-reat-grandfather. 
Sir James was the second son of Richard Dyer, Esq., 
of Wincalton and Round Hill, in Somersetshire, at 
the latter of which places he was born about the year 
1512. Wood says he was a commoner of Broadgate 
Hall (now Pembroke College), Oxford, and that he 
left it without taking a degree, probably about 1530, 
when he went to the Middle Temple. Here he 


appears to have rendered himself eonspieuoiis for 
learning and talents, as in 1552 he performed the 
office of autumnal reader to that society — a distinction 
which was at tliat time conferred only upon such as 
were eminent in their profession. He had, on May 
lOtli preceding, been called to the degree of serjeant- 
at-law, and in the following November his abilities 
wei'e rewarded with the post of King's Serjeant. On 
the meeting of the last Parliament of Edward YI., 
1552-3, Dyer was chosen Speaker of the House of 
Commons, (that office being considered in those days 
as peculiarly appropriate to lawyers of eminence,) 
and in this capacity, on Saturday afternoon, March 4, 
made "an ornate oration before the King:." This is 
the only particular concerning this short Parliament, 
which sat only for one month, and the dissolution of 
which was quickly followed by the death of that 
excellent young Prince, whose successor, though in 
most respects she pursued measures totally opposite to 
those of his reign, continued the royal favor to Dj-er, 
whom, October 19, 1553, she appointed one of her 
Serjeants. In this office his name appears as one of 
the commissioners on the singular trial of Sir Nicholas 
Throckmorton, when his jury, with a freedom rarely 
exercised in that unhappy period, ventured to acquit 
the prisoner. Sir James's behavior on that occasion 
was not disgraced by any servile compliances with the 
views of the court ; yet his regard for his own char- 
acter was tempered with so much discretion as not 
to occasion an}' diminution of her Majesty's protec- 


tion, for on May 20, 1557, being at that time Re- 
corder of Cambridge and a knight, he was appointed 
a judge of the Common Pleas, whence, on April 23d 
of the next year, he was promoted to the Queen's 
Bench, where he sat (though of the Reformed religion) 
during the remainder of this reign as a puisne Judge. 
In the first year of Queen Elizabeth, on November 
18, 1559, he returned to the Common Pleas, of which 
he was appointed in the following January chief 
justice — an office the functions of which he con- 
tinued to exercise for more than twenty years, with 
eminent integrity, firmness, and ability. In the course 
of this long period, we find him assisting at the trial 
of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk ; on which 
occasion he opposed that unfortunate nobleman's 
petition to have a counsel assigned him, and with 
propriety, as the rigorous complexion of the law was 
at that time — it having been reserved for the milder 
spirit of a later age, to indulge prisoners in his un- 
happy situation with that privilege. In 1574 he 
exhibited a singular proof of probity, courage and 
talents, in the spirit with wliich he opposed the 
attempt of Sir John Conway to oppress a poor widow 
of Warwickshire, (that county being included in the 
circuit which he usually went,) by forcibly keeping 
possession of her farm ; and in his reply to the articles 
preferred against him to the Privy Council, by certain 
justices of the peace, whom he had severely repre- 
hended in public, at the assizes, for partiality and 
negligence in permitting so gross a violation of the 


law, and whom he had caused to be indicted for the 
same. What was the end of the dispute his biog- 
rapher has not been able to discover, but thinks it 
reasonable to conclude that the firmness and ability of 
Dyer prevailed over the malice of his adversaries, as 
he experienced no diminution of the Queen's favor, 
but continued in the full exercise of his judicial func- 
tions, without any other memorable transaction that is 
known, down to his death, which happened at his seat 
of Great Stoughton (an estate purchased by himself), 
in the county of Huntingdon, March 24, 15S2, at the 
age of seventy. Leaving no issue by his wife Mar- 
garet, daughter of Sir Maurice a Barrow, of Hamp- 
shire, a relict of the celebrated philologist, Sir Thomas 
Elyot, his estates at Stoughton and elsewhere, with 
his mansion-house at Charter House Church-yard, 
descended to Sir Richard Dyer, grandson of his elder 
brother, John. His will commences thus : " In the 
name of the Father, the Sonne, and the Holy Ghost, 
Amen. I, James Dyer, knight, chief justice of the 
Common Pleas, considering with myself the incer- 
tentye of this vaine and transitorye life, and the sud- 
daine callinge awaie of us from the same, by deathe, 
and for the avoidinge of discorde and strife, that com- 
monlie I see to ensue after the deathe of such as die 
intestate, about the trashe and pelfrye of this wicked 
worlde, being of perfect healthe and memorye (God 
be thanked), doe ordeyne and make this writinge 
withe myne owne hande, this my last will and testa- 
ment, in manner and forme followinge." 


He was buried at Stonghton ; in the venerable 
church of which place is a handsome monument 
erected to his memory, with the following inscrip- 
tions : 

Here lieth Sir James Deyer, Knight, sometimes Lord Chief 
Justice of the Common Pleas — and Dame Margaret, his wife : 
which Dame Margaret was here interr'd the six and twentieth 
day of August, 1560, and the said Sir James, upon the five and 
twentieth of March, 1582. 

Deyero tumulum quid statuis, Nepos ? 

Qui vivit volitaque ora per omnium, 

Exegit monumenta ipse perennia : 

In queis spirat adhuc : spirat in his themis 

Libertas, Pietas, Munificentia. 

En decreta, libros, vitam, obitum, senis! 

Eternas statuas! Vivat in his themis 

Libertas, Pietas, Munificentia. 

Eternas statuas lias statuit sibi : 

Eteruis statuis credite marmora! 

Patruo majori charissimo, ejusque 

Conjugi amantissimse posuit Miles. 

RiCHARDus Deyer. 

I am indebted to Professor Louis Dyer, of Harvard 
University, Cambridge, Mass., for a metrical transla- 
tion of the Latin epitaph, which contains the spirit and 
significance of the original, admirably reproduced : 

A tomb for Dyer, thine uncle, wherefore raise ? 
"Who lives, and quickened in the words men use 
Hath linked his memory to undying praise; 
While speech is speech his life he cannot lose, 
Whose righteousness must always be proclaimed 
When Largess, Freedom, Piety are named. 


If thou his lasting monument wouldst see, 

His thoughts, his deeds, his life and death revere — 

And bid thy soul remember it is he 

When Justice, Freedom, Piety appear ; 

These he his deathless counterparts hath made, 

Not here, in marble mimicry, portrayed. 

Unto his very dear great Uncle, and that Uncle's very loving 
■wife, the present Knight hath raised this tomb. 

RiCHAKD Dyer. 

Sir James Dyer was the author of a large book of 
Reports, which were published after his decease, and 
have been highly esteemed for their succinctness and 
solidity. They were first printed in 1585, and have 
gone through many editions. That of 1688 is en- 
riched by the marginal notes and references of Lord 
Chief Justice Treby, and bears the following title, 
literally translated from the French : " Reports of 
several select matters and resolutions of the reverend 
Judges and Sages of the Law, &c." That eminent 
lawyer. Sir Edward Coke, recommends to all students 
in the law these Reports, which he calls " the sum- 
mary and fruitful observations of that famous and 
most reverend Judge and Sage of the Law, Sir James 
Dyer." They are, indeed, a valuable treasure to the 
profession. The best edition is that by John Yaillant, 
Esq., 1794, 3 vols., 8vo, with the life of the author 
from an original manuscript in the Inner Temple 
Library. It is entitled " Reports of cases in the 
reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary and 
Queen Elizabeth. Taken and collected by Sir James 


Dver, Knio-lit — some time Justice of the Common 
Pleas." On tlie Inner Temple manuscripts of Law 
Reports, he signs his name James Dier. He left 
behind him, also, " A Reading upon the Statute of 32 
Henry YIII., cap. 1, of Wills ; and upon the 34th and 
35th Henry YIII., cap. 5, for the explanation of the 
Statute," printed at London in 1648, 4to. By his 
will he bequeathed to his nephew, Richard Farwell, 
one of the editors of the " Reports," all his books of 
the law, " as well abridgments and reports of myne 
owne handwritinge, as other of the lawe," which 
expression seems to countenance the assertion of Cole, 
that he made an " Abridgment of the Law," but, as 
nothinor of the kind has been discovered, it seems 
more reasonable to conclude that he wrote nothing 
except these " Reports," and the " Reading " above 
mentioned. By these performances, and by the 
services he did his country, he came fully up to the 
character which Camden has given him, of being 
ever distinguished by an equal and calm disposition, 
which rendered him in all cases a most upright judge, 
— as his penetration and learning made him a fit 
interpreter of the laws of his country. Not long 
after his death a book was published, entitled "A 
Remembrance of the Precious Yertues of the Right 
Honourable and Reverend Judge, Sir James Dier, 
Knight, Lord Cheefe Justice of the Common Pleas, 
who diseased at Great Stawghton, in Huntingdonshire, 
the 24th of Marche, Anno 1582. The reporte of 
George Whetstone, Gent. Imprinted at London by 


John Cliarlewood, 4to. Dedicated to Sir Thomas 
Bromley, Lord Chancellor." 

Collinson, in his " History of Somersetshire," says : 
"The manor and borough of Wincanton (formerly 
Wincaleton, from the River Cale, which rises near) 
has several hamlets on the outskirts. One is Barrow 
Common. Lands in the last-mentioned hamlet be- 
longed to the priorj' of Taunton ; after the dissolution 
of which, these lands, with the manor of Round Hill 
and the rectory of Wincanton, were sold to William 
Lord Stourton, whose son, Charles Lord Stourton, 
being attainted, the said lands came again to the 
Crown, and were sold in 1557, at thirty years' pur- 
chase, to John DierT This was, undoubtedly, the 
elder brother of Sir James Dier. 

Yaillant, in alluding to the various ways of spell- 
ing the name, says that " even at a much later period, 
orthography was very little attended to. The disputes 
between the commentators on Shakspeare, about our 
great poet's mode of writing his own name, are well 
known. It is not probable that Sir James Dyer's 
name was ever spelled Deyer, except upon his monu- 
ment, where it was necessary, for the proper pronun- 
ciation of the Latin, to introduce an additional e. 

One very important labor of Sir James Dyer was 
the union of Wales with England, by the abolition of 
the feudal jurisdiction of the eldest son of the King, 
under whose rule, fearful oppression was committed 
on the commonalty. Sir James rendered himself so 
beloved in Wales, by the accomplishment of the union, 


that, even to this day, " The Goat and Eose," hi& 
crest, is a common inn sign all over the principality. 
The portrait of Sir James Dyer is to be seen in the 
picture gallery of Chirk Castle, Denbighshire, near 
the beautiful vale of Llangollen, North "Wales. 

Sir Edward Dyer, a poet of the Elizabethan age, 
was of the same family with those of his name in 
Somersetshire, and was born, probably, about 1540. 
He was educated at Oxford, either in Balliol College 
or Broadgate Hall, where he discovered a propensity 
to poetry and polite literature, but left it without a 
degree, and travelled abroad. On his return, having 
the character of a well bred man, he was taken into 
the service of the court. He now obtained consider- 
able celebrity as a poet, and was a contributor 
to the " Paradyce of Dainty Devyses" and " En- 
gland's Helicon." He wrote " The Prayse of 
Nothing. Imprinted in London in Fleete - streate, 
beneath the Conduite, at the signe of St. John 
the Evangelist, by H. Jackson, 1585. 4to, black 
letter 15 leaves." Queen Elizabeth had a great 
respect for his abilities, and employed him in 
several embassies, particularly to Denmark in 1589 ; 
and on his return from thence conferred on him the 
Chancellorship of the Garter, on the death of Sir John 
"Wolley, 1596, and at the same time she knighted him ; 
but, like other courtiers, he occasionally suffered by 
her caprices. He was, at one time, reconciled to her, 


by her Majesty's being taught to believe tliat he was 
sinking to the grave, under the weight of her dis- 
pleasure. Sir Edward partook of the credulity of the 
times, studied chemistry, and was thought to be a 
Kosicrucian. He was, at least, a dupe to the famous 
astrologers, Dr. Dee and Edward Kelly, of whom he 
has recorded that in Bohemia he saw them put base 
metal in a crucible, and after it was set on fire, and 
stirred with a stick of wood, it came forth, in great 
proportion, pure gold. He wrote pastoral odes and 
madrigals, some of which are in " England's Helicon," 
first published at the close of Queen Elizabeth's reign, 
and lately republished in the " Bibliographer.'' He 
wrote, also, a "Description of Friendship," a poem in 
the Ashmolean Museum, where, also, from Aubrey's 
manuscript, we learn that he spent an estate of £4,000 
a year. There is a letter of his to Sir Christopher 
Hatton, dated October 9, 1572, in the Plarleiun MS., 
and another to the Earl of Leicester, dated Mav 22, 
1586, in the Cottonian Collection, and some of his 
unpublished verses are in a MS. collection formerly 
belonging to Dr. Rawlinson, now in the Bodleian 
Library. There are two sonnets of Sir Edward 
Dyer's at the end of Sydney's '' Arcadia," 1598, 
which are signed C. D. At the funeral of Sir Philip 
Sydney, he was one of the pall-bearers. 

Sir Edward was an intimate friend of Sir Martin 
Frobisher, the celebrated English navigator ; and with 
him, Sir Walter Raleigh, and another naval captain, 
carried the canopy over Queen Elizabeth, when she 


went to St. Paul's, to return thanks for the defeat of 
the Invincible Armada. 

John Dyer, an English poet, was born in 1700, the 
second son of Robert Dyer, of Aberglasney, in Caer- 
marthenshire, a solicitor of great capacity and note. He 
passed through Westminster school, under the care of 
Dr. Freind, and was then called home, to be instructed 
in his father's profession. His genius, however, led 
him a different way, for, besides his early taste for po- 
etry, having a passion no less strong for the arts of 
design, he determined to make painting his profession. 
"With this view, having studied awhile under his master, 
he became, as he tells his friend, an itinerant painter, 
and wandered about South Wales, and the parts adja- 
cent, and about 1727 printed " Grongar Hill," a poem 
which Dr. Johnson says " is not verj' accurately writ- 
ten ; but the scenes which it displays are so pleasing, 
the images which they raise, so welcome to the mind, 
and the reflections of the writer so consonant to the 
general sense or experience of mankind, that when it 
is once read, it will be read again." Being probably 
unsatisfied with his own proficiency, he made the tour 
of Italy, where, besides the usual study of the remains 
of antiquity and the works of the great masters, he fre- 
quently spent whole days in the country about Rome 
and Florence, sketching those picturesque prospects, 
with facility, and spirit. Images from hence naturally 
transferred themselves into his poetical compositions ; 


the pi-incijDiil beauties of the " Ruins of Rome" are, 
perhaps, of this kind, and the various landscapes in the 
"Fleece," have been particularly admired. On his re- 
turn to England in 1740, he published the " Ruins of 
Rome," but soon found that he could not relish a town 
life, nor submit to the assiduity required in his profes- 
sion. His talent, indeed, was rather for sketching than 
finishing, so he contentedly sat down in the country 
with his little fortune, painting now and then a por- 
trait or a landscape, as his fancy led hira. As his turn 
of mind was rather serious, and his conduct and be- 
havior always irreproachable, he was advised by his 
friends to enter into orders ; and it is presumed, though 
his education had not been regular, that he found no 
difficulty in obtaining them. He was ordained by the 
Bishop of Lincoln, and had a law degree conferred 
upon him. About the same time he married a lady of 
Coleshill, named Ensor, "whose grandmother," says 
he, " was a Shakspeare, descended from a brother of 
everybody's Shakspeare." His ecclesiastical provision 
was a long time but slender. His first patron, Mr. 
Harper, gave him, in 1741, Calthorp, in Leicestershire, 
of £80 a year, on which he lived ten years, and in 
April, 1757, exchanged it for Belchford, in Lincoln- 
shire, of £75, which was given him by Lord Chancellor 
Hardwick, on the recommendation of a friend to virtue 
and the muses, Daniel Wray, Esq., one of the deputy 
tellers of the Exchequer, and a curator of the British 
Museum. For this gentleman Mr. Dyer seems to have 
entertained the sincerest regard. Mr. Dyer calls " good 


Mr. Edwards," author of the " Canons of Criticism," 
his particular friend, and in Savage's poems are two 
epistles to Dyer ; one of them in answer to the beauti- 
ful little poem which begins : 

"Have my friends in the town, in the gay busy town, 
Forgot such a man as John Dyer?" 

His condition now began to mend. In the year 
1752 Sir John Heathcote gave him Coningsby, of £140 
a year, and in 1Y56, when he was LL.B., without any 
solicitation of his own, obtained for him, from the Chan- 
cellor, Kirkby-on-Bane, of £110. " I was glad of this," 
says Mr. Dyer in 1756, " on account of its nearness to me, 
though I think myself a loser by the exchange through 
the expense of the seal, dispensations, journeys, etc., and 
the charge of an old house, half of which I am going to 
pull down." The house, which is a very good one, OM'es 
much of its improvement to Mr. Dyer. His study, a 
little room with white walls, ascended by two steps, 
had a handsome window to the church-yard, M'hich he 
stopped up, and opened a less, that gave him a full view 
of the fine church and castle at Gateshall, about a mile 
off, and of the road leading to it. He also improved 
the garden. In May, 1757, he was employed in rebuild- 
ing a large barn, which a late wind had blown down, 
and gathering materials for rebuilding above half the 
parsonage house at Kirby. " These," he says, " some 
years ago, I should have called trifles, but the evil days 
are come, and the lightest thing, even the grasshopper, 
is a burden upon the shoulders of the old and sickly." 


He had then just published " The Fleece," his greatest 
poetical work, of which Dr. Johnson relates this ludi- 
crous story : " Dodsley, the bookseller, was one day men- 
tioning it to a critical visitor, with more expectation of 
success, than the other could easily admit. In the con- 
versation the author's age was asked, and being repre- 
sented as advanced in life, ' he will,' said the critic, ' be 
buried in woollen.'" He did not, indeed, long outlive 
that publication, nor long enjoy the increase of his 
preferments, for, a consumptive disorder, with which 
he had long struggled, carried him oflE at length, July 
24, 1758. 

Mr. Gough, who visited Coningsby, September 5, 
1782, could find no memorial to him in the church. 
Mrs. Dyer, on her husband's decease, retired to her 
friends in Caermarthenshire. In 1756 they had four 
children living — three girls and a boy. Of these, Sa- 
rah died single. The son, a youth of the most amiable 
disposition, heir to his father's truly classical taste and 
to his uncle's estate of £300 or £400 a year in Suffolk, 
devoted the principal part of his time to travelling, 
and died in London, as he was preparing to set out 
on a tour to Italy in April, 1782, at the age of 32. 
This young gentleman's fortune was divided between 
two surviving sisters — one of them married to Alder- 
man Hewitt, of Coventry ; the other, Elizabeth, to the 
Rev. John Gaunt, of Birmingham. Mr. Dyer had some 
brothers, all of whom were dead in 1756, except one, 
who was a clergyman — yeoman of his Majesty's almon- 
ry — lived at Marylebone, and had then, a numerous 


family. Mr. Dyer's character as a writer has been fixed 
by three poems : " Grongar Hill," " The Ruins of 
Rome," and " The Fleece," in which a poetical imagi- 
nation perfectly original, a natural simplicity con- 
nected with the true sublime and often productive of 
it, the warmest sentiments of benevolence and virtue, 
have been universally observed and admired. These 
pieces were published separately in his lifetime, but, 
after his death, collected in one volume, 8vo, 1761, 
with a short account of himself prefixed. 

The poet, "Wordsworth, has written so sweet a tribute 
" To the Poet, John Dyer," that I cannot resist quoting 

" Bard of the Fleece, whose skilful genius made 
That work a living landscape, fair and bright; 
Nor hallow'd less with musical delight. 
Than those soft scenes through which thy childhood stray'd, 
Those southern tracts of Cambria, deep embay'd, 
By green hills fenced, by ocean's murmur lull'd. 
Though hasty Fame hath many a chaplet cull'd 
For worthless brows, while, in the pensive shade 
Of cold neglect, she leaves thy head ungraced. 
Yet pure and powerful minds, hearts meek and still — 
A grateful few — shall love thy modest lay 
Long as the shepherd's bleating flock shall stray 
O'er naked Snowdon's wide, aerial waste ; 
Long as the thrush shall pipe on Grongar Hill." 

A modern critic compares the poet, John G. "Whit- 
tier, to John Dyer, and says : " Unpretentious, yet an 
enthusiastic lover of nature in her several picturesque 
forms, nothing delights Whittier so much as to dwell 


on liis favorite tlicme ; and of all the poets since Dyer's 
time (the immortal author of ' Grongar Hill '), Whittier 
most reminds us of that exquisite delineator of natural 
scenery, who, while breaking out so enthusiastically, in 
the oft quoted lines, commencing 

" ' Ever charming, ever new, 

When will the landscape tire the view?' 

makes us feel that John G. Whittier is Dyer's legiti- 
mate successor in song." 

Samuel Dyer, a man of great learning, and the friend 
and associate of the literati of the last age, was born 
about 1725, and educated at Northampton, under Dr. 
Doddridge, and for some time, had the additional ben- 
efit of being instructed by the learned Dr. John "Ward, 
professor of rhetoric, in Gresham College. lie after- 
wards studied under Professor Hutcheson at Glasgow, 
and, to complete his education, his father, an eminent 
jeweller in London, sent him, by the advice of Dr. 
Chandler, to Leyden, where he remained tw^o years. 
He became an excellent classical scholar, a great math- 
ematician and natural philosopher ; was well versed in 
the Hebrew, and a master of the Latin, Italian and 
French languages. Added to these endowments he 
was of a temper so mild, and in his conversation, so 
modest and unassuming, that he gained the attention 
and affection of all around him. In all questions of 
science. Dr. Johnson looked up to him ; and, in his life 


of Dr. "Watts, (where he calls him the " late learned 
Mr. Dyer",) has cited an observation of his, that Watts 
had confounded the idea of space, with that of envpty 
space, and did not consider that, though space might 
be without matter, yet matter, being extended, could 
not be without space. Mr. Dyer appears to have been 
intended, by his early friends, for the ministry among 
the Dissenters, but discovered an averseness to the pas- 
toral office, which Sir John Hawkins insinuates to have 
proceeded from an unfavorable change in his religious 
sentiments. Various literary schemes appear to have 
been suggested to him, none of which he undertook, 
except in 1758, the revisal of the English edition of 
Plutarch's Lives. In this he translated anew only the 
lives of Demetrius and Pericles. In 1759 he became 
a commissary in the army of Germany, and continued 
in that station to the end of the seven years' war, after 
which he returned to England, and, on the formation 
of the Literary Club (composed of Dr. Johnson and his 
friends) in 1764, he was the first member elected into 
that society, with whom he continued to associate and 
by whom he was highly esteemed to the time of his 
death, in September, 1772. From an excellent portrait 
of this gentleman, by Sir Joshua Keynolds, a mezzo- 
tin to print was scraped by his pupil Marchi, of which a 
copy was imposed upon the public as the portrait of 
John Dyer, the poet. Sir John Hawkins, in his Life 
of Johnson, has given a very unfavorable sketch of Mr. 
Dyer's character, representing him as an infidel and a 
sensualist. These charges, Mr. Malone, in a long note 


in his Life of Drj'deii, has minutely examined with a 
view to refute them, but in our opinion is more to be 
praised for tlie intention, than the execution of this 
desirable purpose. Sir John Hawkins seems to have 
drawn his facts from personal knowledge of Mr. Dyer. 
Mr. Malone does not pretend to this, and while lie ex- 
presses a just indignation at Sir John's charging Mr. 
Dver with infidelity, (supposing the charge to he false), 
he tells us that he himself had no means of knowing 
what Mr. Dver's relisfious sentiments were. There is 
nothing conclusive, therefore, to be expected from one 
who is led, from whatever motive, to deny assertions 
without being able to prove that they are untrue. Mr. 
Malone is the first, if we mistake not, who himself as- 
serted what he has not in the least attempted to prove, 
viz., that Dver was the author of Junius's letters. This 
indeed he qualifies among his errata, by saying that 
Dyer was not the sole author, but the principal author. 
But even here he offers no kind of proof, nor, since 
the publication of the late edition of those celebrated 
letters, will it probably he thought that he had any 
to offer more worthy of attention than the conjec- 
tures which have ascribed these letters to a Bovd or a 

George Dyer, an English author, born in a suburb 
of London, March 15, 1755, died in London, March 2, 
ISAl. He was educated at Christ's Hospital, where he 
was an associate of Charles Lamb, and at Emmanuel 


College, Cambridge, where he received the degree of 
bachelor in 1788. He was successively a teacher, tutor 
and a Baptist minister, residing most of the time either at 
Cambridge or Oxford, till, in 1792, he removed to Lon- 
don, where he was engaged as Parliamentary reporter, 
teacher and writer. In 1830 his eyesight failed him, 
and he at length became totally blind. He was a poet 
and frequent contributor to reviews, but is better known 
as a scholar and antiquary. He wrote " Complaints of 
the Poor" — a work on prison discipline, from personal 
examinations of the prisons in and about the metropo- 
lis. He edited two plays of Euripides and the Greek 
Testament ; Valpy's Edition of the Classics, in 141 
volumes ; the '* Poet's Fate," a poetical dialogue, in- 
scribed to the Society for the Establishment of a Lit- 
erary Fund ; History of the University of Cambridge, 
and notices of its founders and eminent men, 1814. 

In the Reminiscences of Henry Crabb Robinson, 
1799, we find the following : '' I became acquainted 
about this time with George Dyer. He was one of the 
best creatures morally tliat ever breathed. He was the 
son of a watchman in Wapping, and was put to a char- 
ity school by some pious Dissenting ladies. He after- 
wards went to Christ's Hospital, and from there was 
sent to Cambridge. He was a scholar, but to the end 
of his days (and he lived to be 85) was a bookseller's 
drudge. He led a life of literary labor in poverty. He 
made indexes, corrected the press, and occasionally gave 
lessons in Latin and Greek. When an undero-raduate 
at Cambridge he became a hearer of Robert Robinson, 


and, consequently, a Unitarian. This closed the Church 
against him and he never liad a fellowship. He be- 
came intimate with the Xashes, Fordhams, and Rutt, 
and was patronized by Wakefield and Mrs. Barbauld. 
He wrote one good book, the ' Life of Robert Robin- 
sou,' which I have heard Wordsworth mention as one 
of the best w^orks of biography, in the language. Dyer 
also put his name to several volumes of poetry ; but on 
his poems my friend Reid made an epigram, that I fear 
was thought just : 

" ' The world all say, my gentle Dyer, 
Thy odes do very much want fire. 
Repair the fault, mj' gentle Dyer, 
And throw thy odes into the tire! ' 

" Dyer had the kindest heart, and simplest manners 
imaginable. It was literally the case with him that he 
would give away his last guinea. He was not sensible 
of any impropriety in wearing a dirty shirt or a ragged 
coat ; and numerous are the tales told in illustration of 
his neglect of little every-day matters of comfort. He 
has asked a friend to breakfast with him, and given 
him coarse black tea, stale bread, salt butter, sonr milk, 
and has had to run out to buy sugar. Yet, every one 
loved Dyer. One day Mrs. Barbauld said to me, ' Have 
you heard whom Lord Stanhope has made executor?' 
' No ! Your brother ? ' ' No, there would have been 
nothing in that. The very worst imaginable.' 'Oil! 
then it is Bonaparte.' 'No — guess again.' 'George 
Dyer ? ' ' You are right. Lord Stanhope was clearly 


insane ! ' Dyer was one of six executors. Charles 
James Fox was another. The executors were also re- 
siduary legatees. Dyer was one of the first to declare 
that he rejected the legacy, and renounced the execu- 
torship. But the heir insisted on granting liiin a small 
annuity ; his friends having before settled another on 
him, he was comparatively wealtliy in his old age. Not 
many years before his death, he married his laundress, 
by the advice of his friends — a very worthy woman. 
He said to me, once, ' Mrs. Dyer is a woman of excel- 
lent natural sense, but she is not literary.' Dyer was 
blind, for a few years before his death. I used occa- 
sionally to go on a Sunday morning to read to him. At 
other times, a poor man used to render him that service 
for sixpence an hour. After he came to London, Dyer 
lived always in some very humble cliambers in Clif- 
ford's Inn, Fleet street." 

Thomas Noon Talfourd had a great regard for 
George Dyer and refers to his " simplicity of nature, 
not only unspotted by the world, but almost abstracted 
from it," and speaks of him as " breathing out, at the 
age of 85, the most blameless of lives, which began in 
a struggle, to end in a learned dream." 

In Rose's Biographical Dictionary, I find an account 
of William Dyer, a Non-conformist ejected from his 
living of Cholesbury, in Buckinghamshire, in 1662. 
He turned Quaker in the latter part of his life, and 


died in 1696, aged 60, and was l)uried in Southwark. 
He wrote some sermons and theological tracts, much 
in the style of Bunyan. They were reprinted in 1671. 

Thomas Henry Dyer, historian, was born May 1, 
1804, in the parish of St. Dunstan in the East, in the 
city of London, and educated privately. He was en- 
gaged, during the earlier part of his life in a "West 
India house, and after the ruin of Jamaica, in conse- 
quence of negro emancipation, adopted the profession 
of literature. Mr. Dyer travelled extensively on this 
Continent, and particularly studied the topography and 
antiquities of Rome, Athens, and Pompeii. He was 
presented in 1865 with the honorary degree of Doctor 
of Laws, by the University of St. Andrews, He pub- 
lished in 1850 a Life of Calvin, which was pirated in 
America; in 1861, a "History of Modern Europe," 4 
vols.; in 1865, a "History of the City of Rome;" in 
1867 an enlarged edition of "Pompeii;" in 1868, a 
" History of the Kings of Rome," and in 1873, "An- 
cient Athens ; " besides many articles in the Classical 
Museum, in Dr. Smith's Dictionaries of Biography, 
and Geography, etc. 

" From Mr. Frederick Nathaniel Dyer, of Mac- 
clesfield, England, I have received an interesting ac- 
count of the family. Mr. Dyer is a lineal descend- 


ant of William and Mary Dyre, and has always resided 
in England. His father was born in Rhode Island. 
Mr. r. N. Dyer is a great-great-nephew of Sir "William 
Jones, the distinguished oriental scholar, and is a man 
of culture, and literary tastes. He has had many op- 
portunities of investigating the family history, and his 
information is undoubtedly accurate. He says, ' The 
Dyres were settled in Glastonbury, Somersetshire, be- 
fore the Conquest. After the defeat of the Saxons at 
Senlac, near Hastings, Siward Dyre and his two sons, 
Si ward Beam and Wight, retired to Glastonbury, 
from whence they issued to make war on the Normans 
as occasion served, until, leaving their wives and chil- 
dren in charge of the monks, they joined Hereward 
in the famous Camp of Refuge. Siward Dyre (about 
1036) was Eai-1 of Northumbria, (eai'l being then an 
official title, and meaning military governor), and he is 
the Siward of Shakspeare's "Macbeth." He was descend- 
ed from Alfred the Great, and I can prove, by legal 
proof, our descent from him and am able to bring such 
evidence to bear on the matter as will carry conviction 
to any sane mind.' Mr, Dyer also adds that there is 
no doubt of the descent of William and Mary Dyre, 
from Sir Richard Dyre, of Wincanton, Somerset- 
shire, and gives the following account of the direct an- 
cestors of the family : ' Sir Edward Dyre was proba- 
bly a younger son, of no fortune. He was a poet and 
soldier. Queen Elizabeth appointed him Chancellor 
of the Garter. On her death, he retired from court, 
and disappeared from history, as no record of his death 


is known. His disappearance probably arose from 
some act repulsive to James the First. As Chancellor 
of the Garter, his loss would have been traced and 
noted. The probability is, that Huntingdonshire and 
Lincolnshire, being the stronghold of Puritanism, his 
espousal of these principles ignored him at court and 
by contemporaries. He may have been a j^roselyte 
and follower of Cromwell, and if so, probably went to 
Leyden, while his sons and daughters went to ISTew 
England.' ' The last of the baronets of Great Staugh- 
ton (descended from Sir Richard Dyre) died in 1776, 
and by a curious coincidence the representation of the 
baronetcy passed into the American branch of our 
race, in the year of the Declaration of Independence. 
The baronetcy has not been claimed, and it remains to 
be seen whether it ever will be.' " 

From a " History of the Anglo-Saxons," by Sharon 
Turner, F.A.S., I find the following account of 
Siward Dyre, or Digre^ as it was spelled in Anglo- 
Saxon times. " In 1054 while Macduff, the Tliane 
of Fife, was exciting a formidable revolt in Scot- 
land, Siward, by some called the Giant, from his 
large size, and whose sister had been Duncan's queen, 
conducted his Northumbrians against Macbeth. A 
furious conflict followed, in which thousands of 
both armies perished ; but Siward, though he lost 
his son and nephew, defeated the usurper. He re- 
turned with great plunder, having made Malcolm 


king. The glory of a warrior was the felicity most 
precious to Siward. On his return to York, he felt 
that an internal disease was consuming his vitality, and 
he sighed for the funereal trophies of a field of battle. 
' I feel disgraced that I should have survived so many 
combats, to perish now like a cow. Clothe me in my 
mail, fasten on my sword and give me my shield, and 
my battle-axe, that I may expire like a soldier ! ' " 

On Siward's death in 1055, Tostig, the brother of 
Harold, was appointed Earl of Northumbria. 

In " Camden's Remaines" it is stated that " when 
Siward, the martial Earl of Northumberland, under- 
stood that his son, whom he had sent against the 
Scotchmen, was slain, he demanded whether his wounds 
were in the fore part, or hinder part, of his body. 
When it was answered, ' In the fore part,' he replied, 
' I am right glad ; neither wish I any other death to 
me or mine.' " 

Shakspeare has thus described this scene in Mac- 
beth, act 5th, scene 7th, when the nobleman, Rosse, 
announced the death of young Siward to his father : 

' ' Rosse. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt. 
He only lived but till be was a man; 
The which no sooner had his prowess confirmed 
In the unshrinking station where he fought, 
But like a man he died. 

Siward. Then he is dead? 

Rosse. Aye, and brouglit off the field; your cause of sorrow 
Must not be measured by his worth, for then 
It hath no end. 

Siward. Had he his hurts before? 


Eosse. Aye, on the front. 

Siward. Why, then, God's soldier be he! 

Had I as many sons as I have hairs, 
I would not wish them to a fairer death. 
And so his knell is knoUed. 

Malcolm. He's worth more sorrow, 

And that I'll spend for him. 

Siward. He's worth no more; 

They say, he parted well, and paid his score; 
And so, God be with him!" 

The first record of the family name which we find 
in Great Britain, is that of Dier or Diheuvyr, a saint 
who flourished in the sixth century, and founded the 
church of Bodffari, in Flintshire, North Wales. In the 
legend of St. "Winifred, he is called Deiferus. In 1503 
Jeffrey Dier was mayor of Carmarthen ; and in 1514, 
Gwalter Dier filled the same ofiice. This proves that 
the name was known in Wales before John Dyer, the 
poet, had so identified it with the Yale of Towy, 
through his much admired poem on Grongar Hill. 

Henry II. established colonies of Flemish dyers 
in South Wales (Little England beyond Wales) 
as well as near Winchester and London, to introduce 
their trade into England. Many families descending 
from these men took their names from their trade, 
whence the multitude of Dyers who have no connec- 
tion with the Dyres of Somersetshire. 

In a manuscript book written by the mother of the 


late Judge Bradford, of Wilmington, Delaware, is the 
following interesting account of some relics of Mary 
Dyre. Mrs. Bradford, was a descendant of William, 
the second son of William and Mary Dyre, who went 
to Delaware about the time of his mother's death, 
and remained there. Mrs. Bradford says : " Several 
reliques of Mary Dyre have been, from generation to 
generation, preserved by my family with pious care. 
Among them a dress, worked in manj^ colored silks, 
with gold and silver thread, by her own hands, and 
worn by her at the court of England. It has been 
cut up into very small pieces, and distributed to differ- 
ent friends of the society, to which she belonged. A 
few remnants only of this valued garment, remain in 
my possession. The groundwork of this dress, was rich 
white satin — butterflies, flowers, grasshoppers, with 
other insects, were the chosen figures. The work must 
have been one of time, requiring much patience and 
perseverance. A piece of this work is now in the 
Philadelphia Museum. A still more valuable relique 
of this venerated ancestor is her bodkin, of pure gold, 
bearing her initials upon it — M. D. In consequence 
of filing, its size has diminished. These precious par- 
ticles were, from time to time, presented to friends, 
who had them mingled with othei' gold for sleeve- 

I have consulted many books of heraldry, and the 
first grant of arms to any person bearing the name of 
Dyer, which I have been able to find, was in 1575, 


nndoiibtedly, granted to Sir James Dyer. On the 
shield are three goats. The crest is a goat's head hold- 
ing a rose in the month. Since Sir James Dyer's day, 
the rose has, in many instances, been discarded from 
the crest, and a goat's head rising out of a ducal coro- 
net, is used by various members of the family. There 
are many families in England, at the present day, 
named Dyer, to whom arms have been granted. In 
most cases, the goat is an emblem, showing that there 
is more or less consanguinity between the families. 

William Andrew Dyer, of London, a great-great-great- 
ffreat-ofrandson of Oliver Cromwell, has for his crest 
a demi-lion rampant, and the motto " Chi sera, sera." 

Sir Thomas Swinnerton Dyer has the goat's head in 
a ducal coronet and, over the crest, the motto in Welsh, 
" O'r Hen Fonedd," meaning " Of an ancient, honor- 
able race." 

After a very careful examination at the Heralds' 
Collesre in London, it has been ascertained and eci'- 
tifed there, that the coat of arms of William Dyre 
is the one depicted on the last page. The Saracen's 
head of the crest undoubtedly denotes that some ances- 
tors, in olden times, have taken part in the Crusades, 
while the three goats of the shield, show that there is 



a link between William Dyer, and tlie family of Sir 
James Dyer, the distinguished jurist, son of Richard 
Dyer, lord of the manor of Wincanton, Somersetshire, 

iillllinl lilllllllllllll I 

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